Texas State & Local Government Exam Review
Texas State & Local Government Exam Review POLS 2312
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This 10 page Study Guide was uploaded by Bridgette Isaac on Monday January 18, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POLS 2312 at University of Texas at Arlington taught by Allan Saxe in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 553 views. For similar materials see State and Local Government in Political Science at University of Texas at Arlington.
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Clutch. So clutch. Thank you sooo much Bridgette!!! Thanks so much for your help! Needed it bad lol
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Date Created: 01/18/16
EXAM #1 REVIEW: Texas State & Local Government Judges are elected at the state/local levels o President nominates judges at the national level Constitutional Convention o Held by all states to discuss/make amendments to the Constitution (3/4 of the states) o Very rare Enumerated Powers – power to the states Populist – a member of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people Beliefs on equality differentiates Liberals and Conservatives o Liberals Want equality and fairness; spread the wealth Big government → the power of the government used to equalize things Ex: Obamacare, socialism o Conservatives More concerned with the individual and their family unit Small government → more power to the states Rich stay rich, poor have to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” o Libertarians States should only handle violent or big matters Individuals do what they want (within reason); “free will” or liberty Little government involvement Less restrictions on goods sold Ex: ending marijuana prohibition Two Chambers in Texas House o Senate: 31 members 4-year terms No term limits Upper house of the Texas Legislature o House of Representatives: 150 members 2-year terms No term limits Lower house of the Texas Legislature U.S. House of Representatives: 435 members o Texas holds 36 house seats o Based on population of the 50 states Texas Legislative Council (est. 1950) – nonpartisan agency that serves the legislature o Consists of: Lieutenant Governor (Dan Patrick) Elected statewide Succeeded David Dewhurst Most powerful state office Speaker of the House of Representatives (Joe Straus) Six senators appointed by the Lieutenant Governor The Chairman of the House Administration Committee Five other members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Calendar – a list of bills and resolutions that are scheduled to be considered by the full house or senate o 7 people on a committee decide whether a drafted bill goes to the Calendar All 7 say yes → Local and Consent Goes to the house floor 5 people sign to kill a bill → goes to General Calendar o Typically, if one person in the House/Senate committee says no, it goes to the General Calendar Selective Perception: the process by which individuals perceive what they want to; how individuals see the world (while blocking out contradicting stimuli) Cognitive Dissonance: holding two conflicting opinions at the same time; the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change Political History of Texas o Population: approximately 27 million o Largest continental state o Used to be Democrat controlled Conservative and liberal split within the party o Oil & Gas 1930s – huge oil/gas find in East Texas (Kilgore, TX) → gas was 5¢ a barrel Severance tax used to bring in 40% of the state’s income (currently 7%) o Railroad Commission (formed 1891) Regulate prices of oil (mostly) and gas Est. by the Texas Legislature Oldest regulatory agency in Texas Set world oil prices from 1930s to 1960s o Spindletop (January 1901) → led to Texas Oil Boom (Beaumont, TX) Galveston, TX o The Great Galveston Hurricane (The Hurricane of 1900) Stunted the city’s growth; Galveston was the “Jewel of Texas,” the “New York of the South,” and the largest, most successful city in Texas prior to the hurricane Single deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States Galveston never fully recovered o German and Czechoslovakian immigrants moved into the hill country South Texas o Colonia: unregulated settlements with abject living conditions Unincorporated area: areas outside a city Semi-rural settlements; agricultural Poverty-stricken, lack of sanitary sewage, unclean water, etc. o Charter: city constitution o One of the poorest regions in the US o Democratic for the past 150 years; most democratic part of Texas Partisanship is NOT a main factor in local government elections (except in Houston, TX) st Texas Presidential Primaries: March 1 Houston was the runner-up for capital of Texas Austin, TX – liberal/democratic o Most likely due to the presence of UT Austin o Central/southern Texas West Texas o Big on ranches o Republican/conservative o Midlands – Odessa, TX Democrat → Conservative o The movie Friday Night Lights explains football culture East Texas o Known for their oil and gas o El Paso, TX Very similar to San Antonio, TX (due to military bases) o Liberal and conservative Split (conservative around military bases → ex: Fort Worth) North Texas o Our area (Arlington and Dallas) o One of the fastest growing areas in Texas o Republican → Democrat Due to changing demographic, but still mostly conservative Texas State Government o Republican control Influenced by military bases o Mostly heterogeneous 1836 – Texas breaks away from Mexico o 1836 – 1838: Texas vs. Mexico → we gain independence Texas was its own nation, or an independent state, for about 10 years 1845 – Texas becomes a part of the Union o Primary goal: keep slavery around 1846 – 1848: Mexican-American War o Changed the demographic of Texas o Determined how much of Texas the Union would get Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 1861 – Texas joins the Confederacy 1861 – 1865: American Civil War → Confederacy loses 1865 – 1877: Reconstruction: rebuilding the south and the nation 1877 – Reconstruction ends o Texas readmitted to the Union o Democratic party makes a comeback (1876 – 1870/80s) Segregation (Plessy v. Ferguson) “Separate but equal.” Lyndon Baines Johnson (D) [1963 – 1969] o Civil Rights Act of 1964 Originally proposed by President John Kennedy (JFK) who had been assassinated recently Outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin → ended racial segregation o Democrat from Texas o Vice President of JFK o Versus Barry Goldwater (R) o Most lopsided US election in history in terms of the popular vote; stole election Regulatory commissions established in the 19 century o Texas Banking Commission o Texas Historical Commission o Texas Public Utilities Commission o Texas Railroad Commission 1876 – only the Texas hill country was Republican Ferguson family (WWI era) : Democrats o Jim (“Pa”) and Myriam (“Ma”) Jim was a populist; cared about the common man Jim is the only governor to be impeached and removed from office Line-item veto → defunded UT Austin o Made many elites angry Jim’s slogan: “Let’s get the rich!” Myriam runs with the slogan: “Two governors for the price of one!” Only governor in name; not the “real” first female governor o First “real” female governor: Ann Richards Longest serving governor: Rick Perry (14+ years) 1928 – democrats nominate Al Smith o Yankee; Governor of New York o His Roman Catholicism scared away voters, especially the Bible Belt South o Versus Herbert Hoover (R) 1932 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR (D) o Served from 1933 – 1945, succeeded Herbert Hoover o His wife, Eleanor, was the niece of Teddy Roosevelt o First Vice President was John Nance Garner (D) (1933-1941) From Uvalde, TX o Second VP = Henry A. Wallace (D) (1941-1945) o Third VP = Harry S. Truman (D) (1945) Succeeded FDR 1960 – 1963: John F. Kennedy is president (D) o Running mate: LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) From Texas Older and more experienced than Kennedy o Roman Catholic o Stole the election; one of the closest races of all time Television → JFK looks handsome, confident and healthy Nixon looked like a sweaty, nervous dweeb o Versus Richard M. Nixon (R) State Legislature meets for 140 days every odd-numbered year in January o Governor can call special sessions outside of regular sessions Texas House of Representatives o Members assigned to districts Redistricting: redrawing district lines in order to alter drawings of who gets what districts (every 10 years) Also can alter who’s voted in for a district → favoring a party Also known as gerrymandering State Legislature redistricts maps for three entities o House of Representatives o Senate o U.S. Congress 14 amendment – Equal Protection Clause o Every district in TX has to have approx. the same number of people so voting is more fair Electoral College: 538 members o 100 (senators) + 435 (representatives) + 3 (electors from the District of Columbia) Every state is bicameral, or has two chambers, except for Nebraska, who use a unicameral system, or one chamber system Most Important State Level Offices o Unlimited terms for all positions o Speaker of the House Joe Straus Assigns bills to committees, creates and appoints committees Chosen by the 150 members of the House of Rep. o Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick Presiding officer of the Texas Senate Not one of the 31 members of the Senate Most powerful office Powers of the governor + the Speaker of the House o Governor Greg Abbott Vetoes or passes bills o Secretary of State Carlos Cascos Chief elections officer Appointed by the governor with the approval of the Texas Senate Sore-loser law: a law that says the loser in a primary election cannot run as an independent in a general election Most prestigious committee in Texas: Board of Regents o University of Texas system o A&M system Taxation pays for roads, hospitals, schools, etc. Texas does NOT have a state income tax, but there is a federal income tax o Most states have an income tax; Texas is one of the lucky puppers Extra 14% or 15% for a state income tax Lack of an income tax → regressive tax Sales tax: principle source of income for Texas o 6.25% for the state, ±2% for cities Property tax o Local entities that can utilize the property tax Community colleges Hospitals School districts Counties Road districts A large chunk of $ goes to education Nevada makes a lot of money from gambling (Las Vegas, NV) Business tax used to be called the “franchise tax” State Executive branches o 4-year terms with no limit Governor Lieutenant Governor Secretary of State Comptroller State equivalent of IRS Control taxes Brings in money and invests money State Agriculture Commissioner – Sid Miller (R) In charge of agriculture Weights and measures of agricultural products Attorney General – Ken Paxton Chief law enforcement officer Only handles civil disputes o Criminal cases → local/district courts State Courts o Texas courts elect their judges Most states elect judges Vote for judges like we would any other state office Partisan Federal Courts o Appoint judges for life o Picked by President → U.S. Senate approves or disapproves Judicial System o Two major courts (at the state level; both located in Austin, TX) Court of Criminal Appeals State Supreme Court o At the federal level, both civil and criminal cases are handled Civil → divorces, failure to pay something, crashes, family court Criminal → murder, sexual offenses, kidnapping o State Supreme Court 9 members (all Republican at the moment) Handle civil cases 6 year terms, no limit o Court of Criminal Appeals 9 members Handle criminal cases 6 year terms (1/3 must stand for election every 2 years), no limit o The two main top courts are appellate courts Hear cases on appeal ONLY o 13 Courts of Appeals Varying number of members Handle both criminal and civil cases o District courts Each court handles civil OR criminal cases, never both o County Courts Each court handles civil OR criminal cases, never both 100s across Texas o Justice of the Peace courts Lawyer not required Criminal and civil cases handled 4 year terms with no limit o Specialized courts Domestic relations (i.e. divorce/family court) Juvenile courts Drug courts District-level Some counties do not have them o Big counties, like Travis and Harris, tend to have them o Democratic party may dominate Texas eventually SPEAKERS WE’VE HAD IN CLASS: January – early April 94 district seat → Andrew Piel (R) vs. Tony Tinderholt (R) th o Tony Tinderholt – incumbent for 94 district seat (House of Representatives) Chris Turner (D) – state representative for Grand Prairie (District 101) o One of 55 democrats in the Texas House of Representatives Patti Diou o Head of Levitt Pavilion Building community through music Free, but funded by the wealthy of Arlington and donations at the concerts Serve underserved communities Downtown Arlington 1 of 6 across the nation The LP has changed the politics of the city of Arlington Arlington is becoming more like Austin in recent years Mark Davis o Libertarian-Conservative talk-show host and political commentator o His station is 660AM Mac Engel o Writer for the Star Telegram o Talks about sports and sports’ politics How do sports relate to politics? Sports bring in $$$ for universities (mostly football and basketball) Universities are typically liberal Debrorah Peoples (D) o County Chair of Tarrant County Gets the message out to people about the Dem. Party Find candidates for ballots Encourage people to volunteer; raise money o 60-40 split: approx. 1 million voters in Tarrant w/ the majority being Republican
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