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UTD / Government & Politics / GOVT 2306 / What is the meaning of bicameral legislature?

What is the meaning of bicameral legislature?

What is the meaning of bicameral legislature?


School: University of Texas at Dallas
Department: Government & Politics
Course: State and Local Government
Professor: Brian bearry
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: Government
Cost: 25
Name: GOVT 2306.003 Notes on the Texas Legislative Includes information from Reading
Description: Covers the lectures and powerpoints on the Texas Legislative, also includes notes from the chapter of the Texas Legislative
Uploaded: 03/02/2016
10 Pages 213 Views 7 Unlocks

GOVT 2306 Brian Bearry Texas Legislature  

What is the meaning of bicameral legislature?

Texas Legislature  

Thing on the exam for sure are marked with *

1. Representation – mirror of constituency

a. This is a very conservative state, the government  mirrors this

2. Law and policy making institution, most powerful branch  within the Texas government  

3. Reapportionment and redistricting in Texas is very  partisan, this is a political function  

a. Constitution requires a census every 10 years b. This means the population will grow or shrink c. States have the authority to redistrict  

d. Republican party redraws the lines in the State of  Texas  

4. Biennial Sessions

a. Meets every other year for 140 days – means that  the government is producing less regulation and  spending less, translates into less taxation  

What is the meaning of gerrymandering?

b. Governor can call a special session to last no longer  than 30 days, this is used for specific political  


c. Only 4 states use this method of sessions, used to  be very popular but there’s been a sharp increase in annual sessions, this gives the states that have  annual sessions more concentrated power  We also discuss several other topics like What is the purpose of veto and line-item veto?

5. Bicameral Legislature  

a. The Texas Legislature has two chambers, the Texas  House and the Texas Senate  

i. The Texas house has 150 seats, with members  having two year terms, each represents ~170k  constituents  

ii. The Texas senate has 31 seats with members  having four year staggered terms, each  

represents ~900k constituents

b. Legislature Redistricts itself  

i. Gerrymandering - when redrawing districts to  create a predetermined outcome  

Bicameralism theory means what?

ii. The Voting Rights Act of 1965/Preclearance &  Shelby County V. Holder

1. Lead to a decrease in the amount of racial  We also discuss several other topics like What were the four types of medieval cities?
If you want to learn more check out Muted group theory refers to what?


2. States in the South had a history of  

denying the vote to the people

3. After these pieces of legislation and  

supreme court decisions were enacted,  

the states have to submit the redistricting  

to the justice department of the federal  


c. Bicameralism Theory

i. Create two independent institutions  

ii. Creates a barrier against tendency of  

governing bodies to accumulate power  

iii. Force two perspectives in understanding  

legislation, compromise creates better policy  

iv. Helps protect individual freedom because of  cooperation and competing interests, also  

prevents one group domination  

d. Facts about the Texas Government and General  Things*

i. Texas House has a minimum age of 21 years  1. Must be a US citizen and a resident of the  

district for 1 year, and a resident of Texas  

for 2 years  

ii. Texas Senate has a minimum age of 26 years 1. Must be a US citizen and a resident of the  If you want to learn more check out What is dri for sodium?

district for 1 year, and a resident of Texas  

for 5 years  

iii. Texas Governor has a minimum age of 30 years 1. Same as the senate but older  

iv. Demographics of Texas population  


1. TX population is 50% male 50% female

a. House is 79% male  

b. Senate is 77% male  

2. TX population is 45% white 12% African  

American 38% Hispanic  

a. TX House is 66% White TX Senate is  

70% White

b. TX House is 12% African American TX

Senate is 7% African American

c. TX House is 21% Hispanic TX Senate  

is 23% Hispanic  

v. Descriptive Representation/Agency  

Representation/Trustee Representation*  

1. Law making represents the interest of the  

whole of the population

2. Descriptive Representation  

a. Type of representation where the  

demographic makeup of legislative  

mirrors the general population  

b. This is hard to achieve because of  

small minority groups  

3. Agency Representation

a. Citizen body elects someone to office  

that they think is best for themselves  Don't forget about the age old question of What do hunting and gathering mean?

i.e. The constituents, the elected  

official knows more and votes based  

on the knowledge that they receive in


4. Trustee Representation  

a. Represents the preferences of his/her  

constituents voting based on the  

interests of their constituents  

5. These are not mutually exclusive forms of  


6. Citizen Legislator V. Professional Politics  


a. The state legislatures are citizen  

legislators, creates empathy and  

knowledge of the people  

vi. Leadership and Committees*  

1. Presiding Officers: Speaker of the house,  

Lieutenant Governor, House  

Majority/Minority Caucus chairs, House  

Majority Whip

a. The speaker is very influential and  

determines the docket of the house  

b. Lieutenant governor is a member of  

the executive but wields considerable

power in the senate  

c. Senate Caucus Chairs make  

committee appointments, keeps the  Don't forget about the age old question of What determines how much is supplied to the market?

people in line

d. Committees  

e. Legislative Staff are aids to the  


i. They have gate keeping power to

the representative

ii. Engage in drafting legislation  

iii. Provide information on a subject  

iv. The quality of an elected official  

is often based on the quality of  

their staff

f. Whips figure out how people are  

going to be voting on particular  

pieces of legislation  

i. This is seen as a stepping stone  

to caucus chair/speaker positions

2. Types of Committees*

a. Standing, Ad Hoc, Conference  

i. Standing Committee  


1. A type of committee that is  

permanent and has specific  

subject matter jurisdiction  

2. Responsible for certain  

areas of policy  

3. The bulk of law is created in

standing committees  

4. Interest Groups have their  

more influence here and  

provide ear marks*

a. Ear marks are a line by  

line change of the  


b. Law makers will draft  

legislation here but so  

will the interest groups  

c. Interest groups are only

going to help  

themselves with these  

pieces of legislation  

d. Law has an upper class

bias, law/policymaking  

favors the upper/upper  

middle class, this is due

to campaign  

contributions, when  

surrounded by wealthy  

people and lobbyists it  

ends up favoring the  


ii. Ad Hoc Committee  

1. Temporary Committee  

formed for a specific  


a. Last session Texas had  

border problems so  


they called an Ad Hoc  

committee for these  


2. Committee is given  

oversight and policy  

proposal power for the issue

it is designated for  

iii. Conference Committee  

1. When a bill goes through  

the Texas legislative branch  

the bill has to be identical  

and passed in both  


2. This committee gets the  

senate and house to pass  

the same bill through  

compromise and review  

vii. How a Bill becomes a law in Texas Step by  Step*

1. Introduction  

a. Note that revenue bills can only be  

introduced in the house and not the  


2. Referral to committee

a. This is the first reading of the bill  

3. Consideration by standing  


a. Pigeon Holing can happen here

i. This is when a bill is put at the  

bottom of the stack of other bills  

and dies  

b. The subcommittees are even more  

specialized parts of the committees  

c. This is the second reading of the bill  

4. Calendars Committee  


a. They place a date for floor action of  

the bill  

5. Floor Action  

a. Debate about the bill goes on, and  

then returns to the committee  

6. Changes are Addressed and voted on  

a. This is the third reading of the bill  

7. Conference Committee  

a. This only happens if the bill is  

different in the House and Senate  

8. Governor Action  

a. If nothing happens within 10 days,  

the bill passes and becomes a law

b. Signing the bill is typically for high  

profile cases that the governor shows  

direct support for  

c. If the session ends and the governor  

doesn’t sign the bill it does not pass  

d. Line item veto  

i. Can go line by line and mark out  


Governing Texas Pages 199 – 210

1. Terms  

a. Bicameral – Having a legislative assembly  

composed of two chambers or houses  

b. Per Diem – daily payment to a public official  engaged in state business  

c. Regular Session – the 140-day period occurring only in odd numbered years during which the Texas  Legislature meets to consider and pass bills

d. Biennial – occurring every two years

e. Special Session – a legislative session called by the  governor that addresses an agenda set by him or  her and that lasts no longer than 30 days  


f. Bill – proposed law that has been sponsored by a  member of the legislature and submitted to the  clerk of the House/Senate  

g. Local bill – a bill affecting only units of local  

government such as a city county or special district  h. Special bill – a bill that gives an individual or  corporation a special exemption from a state law  i. General bill – a bill that applies to all people and or  property in the state  

j. Resolution – an expression of opinion on an issue by a legislative body

k. Concurrent resolution – a resolution of interest to  both chambers of the legislative and which much  pass both the House and Senate and generally be  signed by the governor  

l. Joint Resolution – a resolution commonly a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution or ratification  of an amendment to the US constitution that must  pass both the house and senate but which does not  require the governor’s signature  

m. Simple resolution – a resolution that concerns  only the Texas House or Senate such as the  

adoption of a rule or the appointment of an  

employee and which does not require the  

governor’s signature

n. Constituent – a person living in the district from  which and official is elected  

o. Electoral power – the legislature’s mandated role in  counting returns in the elections for governor and  lieutenant governor  

p. Investigative power – the power exercised by the  House the Senate or both chamber jointly to  

investigate problems facing the state  

q. Directive and supervisory power – the legislature's  power over the executive branch for ex. The  


legislature determines the size of appropriations for  state agencies  

r. Judicial Power – the power of the House to impeach  and of the Senate to convict members of the  

executive and judicial branches of state government s. Impeachment – According to the Texas Constitution  the formal charge by the House of Representatives  that leads to a trial in the Senate and possible to  the removal of a state official  

Governing Texas Pages 217 – 230

2. Terms  

a. Factors that contribute to the legislative process  i. The Comptroller of Public Accounts  

ii. The Media

iii. The courts  

iv. Lobbyists

v. The public  

b. Speaker – the chief presiding officer of the House of  Representatives the speaker is the most important  party and house leader, and can influence the  legislative agenda, the fate of individual pieces of  legislation the member’s positions within the house  

c. Lieutenant governor – a statewide elected official  who is the presiding officer of the Senate, the  

lieutenant governor is one of the most important  officials in state government and has significant  control over legislation in the state senate  

d. Recognition – the power to control floor debate by  recognizing who can speak before the house and  senate  

e. Redistricting – the process of redrawing election  districts and redistributing legislative  

representatives in the Texas House, Texas Senate  and US House this usually happens every 10 years  


to reflect shifts in population or in response to legal  challenges in existing districts  

f. Single Member districts – a district in which one  official is elected rather than multiple officials  

g. One person one vote principle – the principle that all districts should have roughly equal populations  

Governing Texas Pages 210 – 217  

3. Terms  

a. Know the Legislative Bill process outlined above  b. Filibuster – a tactic used by members of the senate  to prevent action on legislation they oppose by  continuously holding the floor and speaking until  the majority backs down, a filibuster can be ended  with a 3/5 majority vote  

c. Veto – according to the Texas Constitution the  governor’s power to turn down legislation can be  overridden by a two thirds vote of both the House  and Senate  

d. Post adjournment veto – a veto of a bill that occurs  after the legislature adjourns thus preventing the  legislature from overriding it  

e. Line item veto – the power of the executive to veto  specific provisions of an appropriations bill passed  by the legislature  


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