Settled by white farmers from southers states migrating west; violent, religious, and has distinctive and conservative political tradition.
Significance: Politically conservative on both social and economic issues
self image of rugged individualism and violence that relates to the myths of the 19th century. Image i based on the size of Texas and its frontier and is very hypocritical- people believe in rugged individualism but rely on govt for big projects like building lakes.
Historical Context of Constitution
written by southern farmers who rejected the reconstruction government and wanted a new, de-centralized govt. thus they made the TX constitution very long and specific with a disintegrated executive. Constitution is so tough that you have to pass a law to get anything done, and therefore govt is weak.
tx govt has many independently elected executives alongside the governor, which weakens thegoverner's power and the gov as a whole. Shows that the constitution creates conflict, inefficiency, and lack of authority.
Texas ranked among state expenditures
Texas is consistently ranked in the bottom half for various spending (education, arts) and has the lowest tax burden of any state
Significance: Means Texas government is small and inactive; Government looks poor based on these rankings
Texas rank among states in objective quality of life
Texas has one of the worst, crime is high. By objective measures, Texas is a comparatively bad place to live. Significance: contrasts with the subjective quality of life. (Liberals: caused by small gov conservatives: caused by illegal immigrants)
Texas rank among states in subjective quality of life
Texas is the 15th happiest state. Significant because it shows that Texans are relatively happy compared to other states, despite poor objective measures.
tradition of one-partyism
after the reconstruction era, Texas was unified under the democratic party. However, after the election of Reagan, Texas became mostly republican. This is partly due to the liberal minorites who tend not to vote.
The formal structure and leadership of a political party, including election committees local, state, and national executives and paid professional staff.
Chairperson of the Texas Republican Party, very conservative, had a running fight with Bush and told people to vote against Bush's tax bill and has no effect; proves that political organizations really do not have influence on politics, even within their own parties
Texas voter turnout
Texas has had low voter turnout since the 60s in presidential and state elections. This has been rising slowly, but is due to low minority turnout and a large wealth and education distribution. Legitimacy is based on participation, and TX govt is never "by the people"
minorities and those less educated have extremely low voter turnout in the southern states and were even once banned from voting altogether. Explanation of conservative policy in Texas because minorities tend to vote more liberal when they do vote.
minorities tend to have more liberal opinions than anglos, and share many opinions on policy with liberal and democratic politicians. When they fail to go to the polls, howeer, their opinions become irrelevant.
The number of days congress can convene over a two year period, means that legislators are part-time and that legislature has to be a hobby, are unprofessional; significant because it takes power away from the government by limiting the amount of time legislature can be passed
annual salary of legislators (per session) as mandated by the constitution. Not a lot of money which makes them succeptible to lobbyists and other officers.
powers of presiding officers
Power that is highly centralized in two people, the speaker of the House and Lt. Governor, they appoint the chairperson and every person in each committee and contain institutional power; significant because its shows how the Governor himself is weak and has to share his power
David Dewhurst & Tom Craddick
2005 speaker of the house (Tom) and leut gov (David). Disagreed on tax reform and schol finance, created gridlock for 2 leg sessions. Agreed in 2006 and got stuff done. Even in state legislature, where power is centralized, its hard to get things done efficiently.
Businessman of Pilgrim's Pride, in 1989 he sat on the floor of a debate and wrote a 10,000 dollar check to senators if they said something he liked; legislator was embarrassed and stopped people sitting on the floor
Significance: lobbyists and money are very powerful and have more influence than individual reps
Responsible policy making
ability of parties, officials, and institutions to make coherent public policy and to be accountable to the citizens. In Tx. policy mkin is better than in the natl gov, where responsibility is impossbile because power is so fragmented.
sources of state income
Texas receives its income from sales tax, oil and severance tax, other taxes, license, fees, etc., the lottery, and the rest from the government; significant because Texas receives 1/3 of its income from the government
oil and natural gas severance tax
Texas used to get about 1/3 of its revenue from oil, natural gas and coal production, but now it accounts for less than 5% because production has decreased so much. Significance: The decline of the severance tax has caused the legislature to raise other taxes and fees to sompensate
patterns of state expenditure
Texas spends most of its money on education, human services, business and economic, other than public safety and criminal justice. Sig: when there are budget cuts, education is mostly effected(cuz most of the money goes to education)
Functions of state chief executives
They are the head of administration, who control the state bureaucracies, chief legislator, head of his/her party, commander and chief; significant because it refers back to the governors weak power and influence in these areas
Power of governor
Governor's power is structurally weak because of the otherexecutives, thus paking policy decisions more difficult. However strong politician can overcome weakness of office by persevering and being tough.
Governor's control of administration
The governor has little control over the state and is not in control of the large portion of the Texas administration, thus other legislators undermine him; he also cannot appoint commissioners or their employees; significant because it refers back to how weak the governor of Texas is compared to others
Board of Pardons and Paroles
Established by Governor James Allred to establish an orderly system to control the release of prisoners.
Governor Ann Richards
second TX female governor from 1991-5, and most atypical. This governor removed a state executive from the state insurance board by threatening to expose a scandal. Then she appointed her own choice, showing that a savvy politician can overcome structurally weaknesses of office.
term for the president as architect of public policy and the one who sets the agenda for congress
Governor George W. Bush
governor from 1995-2000. campaigned on 4 issues- refor fo juvenile justice system, tort reform, public education, and welfare restrictions. During his term he fulfilled all goals which shows that savvy politician can overcome the structural weaknesses of the office.
Governor Rick Perry
When he was governor he was very inactive and uncommunicative, with legislature passing what they wanted to pass. He vetoed 2 bills and gave no explanation; significant because without communication in office, the governor will run into a lot of trouble and will be a terrible legislator
Texas Office of Homeland Security
State wide plans that responds to terrorism or natural disasters and is controlled by the governor; significant because it shows the very limited power and control the governor has within Texas
one of Tx independently elected executives, who organizes state revenue and budget. Controls how state spends their money, which is a check on the legislature and governor. example of disintegrated executive
Letter Opinion 97-001
Dealt with affirmative action at the University of Texas. A white student applied to UT Law School and didn't get in. Filed suit. Fed Court said she had been discriminated against and claimed the affirmative action program to be unconstitutional. Attorney General issued letter of opinion saying there could be no more affirmative action at any university in Texas. This policy was overruled 6 years later.
Point: For 6 years, the Attorney general set affirmative action policy for Texas
Is Justice for sale
Judges need money to campaign and are compromised by this; significant because it is a large conflict of interest is money donated by lawyers, thus essentially bribing the judges and violating citizen's rights to a fair trial
Robin Hood Law
this 1993 law gave money from rich school district to poor school districts, because public education is a duty of the state govt. The judiciary threatened to take control if this wasnt done, however the law was named unconstitutional in 2005. An example of the judiciarybrance forcing other branches to do what they want, as well as how the judiciay supports the underdog
legislation that limits the nature of personal injury lawsuits, either by restricting the type of suit, who can be sued, or the amount of damages
Cameron Todd Willingham
Was convicted of murdering his daughters and sentenced to death. Later in 2007, the Forensics Science Commission looks into the case where they hire the head of fire safety and claims the testimony was a sham. Without the testimony he would not have been convicted; significant because its classic implementation problem, implementing capitol punishment is so flawed that Texas executes innocent people
TX panhandle town in which some minorty citizens wre wrongly accused and convicted of selling narcotics in the late 1990s. TX court of criminal appeals found they were innocet. Racism still exists in TX, even though equality has improved since the past.
Lower Colorado River Authority
Controls how much water is used,and by whom. Privides water in Austin. Cut off water to rice farmers and farmers went nuts. Sig: Sold water to rice farmers cheaper than towns and businesses. Arguemnt:urban vs farmers,
Texas Water Plan
A gigantic engineering project proposed in the 1960s that would have connected the Mississippi River to north Texas and Lubbock, but was strongly opposed and shot down; significant because although a plan was proposed, the water conflict still remains to be solve
Rule of Capture
principle in law which holds that the water
under someone's property is completely under his control and he can do anything they want with it
Texas Water Development Board
Established in 1957 to provide loans to local gov for water supply. collected water data and came up with a new plan every 5yrs. 2007 plan was to build more damns, but farmers didnt want them next to their farms. Environmentalist opposed: stop migration of fish, dams disrupt ecology, damns are tempary(will later becom marsh). Planning doesnt solve any of the political water controversies. Sig: planning is a technical process but the problem is not a technical problem it is a political problem.
No Child Left Behind Act
a u.s. law passed by congress in 2001 that was intended to increase accountability in education by requiring standardized tests to measure school achievement. many critics, especially teachers, say the law undercuts learning and fails to take local needs into consideration
"the NAFTA Highway"
Nickname given to Interstate Highway 35 because of its important role in connecting the economies of the US and Mexico
tendency of entrepreneurs to oppose govt involvement in economy but seek govt assistance for particular business
"Necessary and proper" clause
Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government
annual legislative sessions
legislative sessions that take place every other year
"amend in" versus "amend out"
Easy to amend in a provision than amend out; once something is in the constitution, it is very difficult to get them out because elections are generally run on what new provisions will be put into the constitution versus what will be taken out
Texas Residential Construction Commission
an agency designed in 2003 to resolve disputes between builders and consumers who have bought homes they have constructed. However, it mainly functions to protect builders as Bob Perry used campaign contributions and lobbying to fashion public policy to his private needs. Thus, the interest group system in Texas not only permits, but encourages, private interests to warp public policy.
When policy is made at the behest of a few rich interests working behind the scenes or when the government is run by the wealthy
allocation of power throughout various political, social, and economic institutions; Sig. government has moved from helping the general public to following private interests in the public.
Texas for Lawsuit reform
Business group that partnered with other groups trying to make it difficult for people to file frivolous lawsuits and by donating money to Republican campaigns in return for favorable legislature; Significance: Business interests dominate policy making because of their monetary influence
created when several publics shareing common interests combine resources to increase their resources and political clout.
representatives that maintain ideas of Texas when is was a part of the Old South (traditionalists); Socially conservative, economically inconsistent; Normally economically conservative, but often believe that government has the ability to
protect the less fortunate from wealthy individuals and corporations; they arent much differnt from liberal democrats in Texas. It shows how socially conservative texas is.
a tax of a fixed amount per person and payable as a requirement for the right to vote
The act of attacking an opposing candidate's platform, past political performance, or personal characteristics.
o1. Causes election to be decided on inaccurate or irrelevant charges
o2. Important discussions on public policy and how to solve the nations problems are
o3. Good people avoid entering the political life to avoid being the target of public attack
o4. It disheartens citizens (more likely to not vote)
a minicomputer that permits citizens to vote electronically. It has proved to be imperfect (brings up problems of hackers). Traditional low-tech paper ballots were less likely to be lost or fraudulently miscounted than these e-ballots. Problem underscores the point that no technology is fool- and fraud-proof.
Legislative Redistricting Board
step in when legislature fails to redistrict itself and perform the task on their own; composed of 5 ex officio state officials (members by virtue of their holding another office). These 5 are the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the General Land Commissioner, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the Attorney General.
Name media gave to AWOL democrats who tried to resist redistricting proposed by Republicans in 2003
Legislative Fringe Benefits
Some legislators have manipulated salary, the per diem, and travel reimbursements (fundamentally undemocratic aspect of legislature compensation). Per diem allowances, staff budgets, and retirement provisions do not follow the general principle of the citizen legislation. salaries are really low ($7200 dollars a year). because they only get paid that much, and only meet 140 days every other year, they are really only part time legislators. HOWEVER - the salary is really low but the fringe benefits are rather generous.
the committee system in Texas allows the presiding officers to use their referral powers to determine the outcome of a bill. If they favor the bill, it will be referred to a committee that will act favorably toward it. If they oppose the proposed legislation, it will be assigned to an unfriendly committee.
the power of the head of the executive branch to reject one part of a bill but approve the rest of it
The more civil house
the degree of partisanship, the sharpness of ideological divisions, and the traditions surrounding the operation of the two houses are quite different. The Senate periodically provides glimpses of moralistic thinking; the House appears frozen in the state's individualistic/traditionalistic political culture. Most of the time, the Senate continues to operate as a chamber characterized by civility and lack of hard-edged partisanship while this is not the case in the House. The senate is the more civil house, according to Prindle
Ways a governor can be impeached
·Nonfeasance-failure to perform
1954 amendment allows the legislature to determine the salary of the governor. Since then it has risen from $12,000 to $150,000, ranking 11th among all governors. Lieutenant governor is paid as a legislator ($7,200 with fringe benefits). The governor also receives fringe benefits—official mansion, travel and operating budget, a car, use of state-owned aircraft, bodyguards, and offices and professional staff.
Texas Film Commission
encourages movie making in the state by providing support for such activities as finding locations and accommodating production meals (part of the governor's office)
Texas Research League
Conducted a study of the state's court system and voiced concern about how efficiently it functions