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Having a legislature composed of two houses. This legislation was adopted once Texas became its own republic in 1836. It structure mimicked that of the US.
There are 150 House members and 31 Senators in the Texas legislature. An example of bicameralism: The author of a bill in one house that gets amended in another house has the opportunity to reject/accept the bill. This makes it harder to pass a bill in the House therefore giving a check within the legislature.



Senator: Must be a U.S. Citizen, at least 26 years old, qualified voter, resident in Texas for 5 years, and their district for at least one year.
HOR: Must be a U.S. Citizen, at least 21 years old, qualified voter, resident in Texas for 2 years, and their district for at least one year.

A typical legislator is usually white, male, Protestant, college, educated and has a business or professional occupation. Most are attorneys, lawyers, or businessmen/women.

requirements to serve in legislature


daily payment to a public official engaged in state business. This is usually given on off-session days. These are given because their pay for the on-session season is very low. Legislators themselves can decide what they consider official business on off-session days in order to get extra pay that will supplement their usual salary. It’s a good idea for lawmakers to make little money because it will enable them to commit their service not based on financial incentives.

per diem


the 140-day session where the legislator meets to pass/reject bills. This happens every two years. This was done to make these sessions like a “part time job” and also limit the power of the legislature. With population growth, 140-day sessions may not be sufficient anymore.

regular session


session called by the governor that addresses his agenda set and can last no more than 30 days. However, there is no limit to how many sessions the governor can call. This gives more power to the governor

special session


affects only units of local government, such as a city, county, or a special district. An example would be like creating a community college or opening a Sports Authority store.

local bill


gives an individual or corporation a special exemption from state law. An example would be giving someone compensation who is wrongly convicted.

special bill


An expression of opinion on an issue by the legislative body



resolution that must pass both the House and Senate and require the governor’s signature. This resolution reinforces the concept of bicameralism and the governor’s powers. An example would be to call on Congress to take a pending action.

concurrent resolution


A resolution that must pass both the House and Senate with no requirement of the governor’s signature. This resolution gives more power to the House. An example would be resolutions involving to add amendments to the Texas Constitution.

joint resolution


A resolution that must pass either the House or Senate with no requirement of the governor’s signature. An example would be to appoint employees or recognize achievements of a Nobel Prize winner.

simple resolution


1) when the member of the legislature gets an idea for a bill and files a copy with the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate.

2) when the bill is assigned to the appropriate standing committee by the Speaker (for House bills) or the Lieutenant Governor (for Senate bills).

3) when the bill is either killed, amended, or heard by the standing committee.

4) bill that has been referred to the standing committee is then scheduled for floor debate.

5) joint committee created to work out a compromise on House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation

6) Is when the governor signs, vetoes, or refuses a bill. demonstrates the governor’s responsibility in the legislative process

steps of a bill becoming a law;
1) introduction,
2) referral,
3) consideration by standing committee,
4) floor action
5) conference committee
6) action by governor


fundamentally shapes the work of the Texas Legislature, influencing what bills are considered and how far they advance through the long legislative process; also channels the support of well financed interest groups to specific committees and their members; has a strong impact on the reelection opportunities of incumbent legislators; thus shapes both the legislative process and the distribution of power in the Legislature.

Though the presiding officer in each house wields tremendous authority to appoint committee memberships and to refer legislation, once a bill is referred, the responsible committee then enjoys considerable authority to shape the bill.

committee system


a permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject

standing committee


A joint committee created to work out a compromise on House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation

conference committee


a tactic used by the standing committee chair where he kills a bill by setting it aside and not bringing it before the committee. This shows the struggle of getting a bill passed in Texas.



according to Texas Constitution, governor’s power to turn down legislation; can be overridden by a ⅔ vote of both TX House and TX Senate; anytime governor vetoes a bill, he/she attaches a message explaining why it was vetoed; illustrates a check and balance over both the governor and the legislature.



occurs after legislature adjourns, preventing legislature from overriding it (aka a strong veto); provides the governor with excellent bargaining tool because he/she can threaten to veto the bill unless changes are made

Post-adjournment veto


power of the governor to veto specific provisions (lines) of an appropriations bill passed by the legislature; allows the governor to sign bill and draw lines through specific items, deleting them from the bill, and, except for deleted items, the bill becomes law; only applies to the omnibus appropriations bill; power president doesn’t have

line-item veto


a tactic used by the members of the Senate to prevent action on a legislation by continuously holding the floor and speaking until the majority backs down. To filibuster, the basic rules the Senate must follow are that they must stand up without leaning, have no food or drink, must talk on topic, and have an audible voice. A filibuster can be stopped with 3/5 vote of Senate. This gives power to the Senate that the House doesn’t have



chief presiding officer of TX House; most important party and TX leader; can influence legislative agenda, fate of individual pieces of legislation, and members’ positions within TX House [currently Joe Strauss];

is elected by membs of House; Pwr rests on getting chosen by membs of House; Can punish with chairmanships and committee appointments (important for getting bills passed); We currently have a more moderate leader in House; Likely matches with most of chamber (not quite w/ Straus)

Speaker of the House


statewide elected official who is the presiding officer of the Senate; is one of the most important officials in the state and has significant control over legislation in TX- this is where the real power comes from. [currently Dan Patrick]

elected by statewide election; Pwr rests on getting elected and having support in senate to get the rules; We currently have a more conservative leader in Senate; May not match well w/ most of chamber

has executive responsibilities (serving as acting governor when governor is out of state and succeeding governor who resigns, is incapacitated, or is impeached); real power comes from place is legislative process (constitutional pres of senate); has right to debate and vote on all issues when TXS sits as committee has a whole, casts deciding vote on tie; signs all bills and resolns (like Speaker); part of LRB; is chair of LBB and member of other boards and committees

Lieutenant Governor


TX Legislature is not as partisan as US Congress, but partisanship is increasing; TXH: 51 Dems, 99 Repubs(?); TXS: 11 Dems, 20 Repubs; local issues are more important than those that split representatives and senators across party lines

parties in the legislature


can usually kill legislation he opposes and often can pass legislation he supports; at start of regular session, members of TXH adopt rules that give him institutional powers sufficient to control work of TXH [1) recognition 2) controls legislative debate (including who speaks and how long debate will last) 3) committee and committee chair assignments 4) setting legislative agenda 5) determining which committee bill will go to (favorable or unfavorable)]

powers of the Speaker


can usually kill legislation he opposes and often can pass legislation he supports; may only vote in order to break a tie; at start of regular session, senators adopt rules that TXS will follow for next 2 years, they give lt. governor large control over work of TXS (power to decide parliamentary questions and to use discretion in following TXS procedural rules [1) power to decide all questions of order on TXS floor, subject to appeal from members 2) power to recognize members on floor 3) power to break tie on a particular vote 4) power to refer bills to committees (favorable or unfavorable) 5) power to appoint members and chairs to standing committees, subcommittees, special committees, and conference committees]

powers of the Lt. Governor


district in which one official is elected rather than multiple officials; it is believed to give minorities a fairer chance at being represented/having their voice and values represented in the legislative system; makes things more equal when considering the disparity among more populous geographic areas (such as in regards to at-large districts)

single-member districts


process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives in TX House, TX Senate, and US House; usually happens every 10 years to reflect shifts in the population or in response to legal challenges in existing districts; (this is a very partisan and controversial issue, specifically because it involves how representation will be determined and enables the majority party to better ensure their safe seats; TX Legislature must obey federal laws in regards to protecting strength of minority votes, but these laws have become less strict recently)

redistricting (as an issue)


absolutely important; A person living in the district from which an official is elected. Constituents are important because legislators tend to conduct legislative activity that addresses the needs of his constituents for the incentive of getting re-elected. This may include from introducing a bill or resolution on their behalf, or meeting with constituent, or writing recommendation letters for them.

constituent [service]


all districts should have roughly equal populations; TX must draw legislative districts according to this concept because it enables the population to have fair representation; not really required until US Supreme Court decisions in Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964)

one-person, one-vote principle


Dan Patrick(R, conservative) and Joe Straus(R, moderate)

Leaders [TXHoR and TXSenate]