When was the first time the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in over 100 years?
Following the 2002 election with a 88-62 majority.
minimum number required for valid meeting: a fixed minimum percentage or number of members of a legislative assembly, committee, or other organization who must be present before the members can conduct valid business
How many members are their in each house of the Texas congress? How long do they each serve? Other important stats...
31 Senators and 150 Representatives
Senators serve four years with no term limits. Each senator serves aprox. 819k people
Representatives serve 2 years with no term limits. Each Rep. serves aprox. 169k people.
Elections are held in Nov. of every other even numbered year.
Victors take office in Jan.
Each paid $7200 a year and $139 a day while legislature is in session.
Qualifications for being a Senator
US citizen qualified voter Resident of the state for at least five years Resident of the district for at least one year At least 26 years old
Qualifications for being a Representative
US citizen qualified voter Resident of the state for at least two years Resident of the district for at least one year At least 21 years old
Where can a bill start?
Revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives. All other bills can originate in either house.
Wesberry V. Sanders
1964 SC decision that each states congressional districts must be equal in population.
Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims
SC decisions forcing states to redraw district lines fairly.
Reaffirms constitutional principle of one person one vote
having a legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses; opposite of unicameral
the 140-day period during which the Texas legislature meets to consider and pass bills; occurs only in oddnumbered years
action by the governor
the final step in the legislative process, during which the governor either signs or vetoes a bill
occurring every two years
a proposed law that has been sponsored by a member of the legislature and submitted to the clerk of the House or Senate
a resolution of interest to both chambers of the legislature, and that must pass both the House and Senate and generally be signed by the governor
a joint committee created to work out a compromise on House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation
consideration by standing committee
the third step in the legislative process, during which a bill is killed, amended, or heard by a standing committee
a person living in the district from which an official is elected
efforts made by a member of a legislature on behalf of his or her constituency
directive and supervisory powers
the legislature's power over the executive branch; for example, the legislature determines the size of appropriations for state agencies
the legislature's mandated role in counting returns in the elections for governor and lieutenant governor
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. Once given the floor, senators have unlimited time to speak, and it requires a vote of three-fifths of the Senate to end a filibuster. In Texas, Senate rules require that a senator stand upright at his/her desk and remain on topic while speaking. This is unlike the U.S. Senate, where it is not necessary to remain on topic
the fourth step in the legislative process, during which a bill referred by a standing committee is scheduled for floor debate by the Calendars Committee
a bill that applies to all people and/or property in the state
according to the Texas Constitution, the formal charge by the House of Representatives that leads to trial in the Senate and possible removal of a state official
the first step in the legislative process, during which a member of the legislature gets an idea for a bill and files a copy of it with the clerk of the House or secretary of the Senate
the power, exercised by the House, the Senate, or both chambers jointly, to investigate problems facing the state
a resolution, commonly a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution or ratification of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that must pass both the House and Senate but does not require the governor's signature
the power of the House to impeach and of the Senate to convict members of the executive and judicial branches of state government
the power of the executive to veto specific provisions (lines) of a bill passed by the legislature
a bill affecting only units of local government, such as a city, county, or special district
one-person, one-vote principle
the principle that all districts should have roughly equal populations
a step in the legislative process during which a bill is killed by the chair of the standing committee to which it was referred, as a result of his or her setting the bill aside and not bringing it before the committee
a veto of a bill that occurs after the legislature adjourns, thus preventing the legislature from overriding it
the Speaker of the House's power to control floor debate by recognizing who can speak before the House
the process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives. This happens every ten years to reflect shifts in population or in response to legal challenges in existing districts
the second step in the legislative process, during which a bill is assigned to the appropriate standing committee by the Speaker (for House bills) or the lieutenant governor (for Senate bills)
a proposal, made by a member of the legislature, that generally deals with the internal workings of the government; a resolution is similar to a bill, but it has a more limited scope and lacks the force of public law
a resolution that concerns only the Texas House or Senate, such as the adoption of a rule or the appointment of an employee, and does not require the governor's signature
an electorate that is allowed to select only one representative from each district
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, and members' positions within the House
a bill that gives an individual or corporation a special exemption from state law
a legislative session called by the governor that addresses an agenda set by him or her and that lasts no longer than thirty days
a permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject, such as finance or agriculture
The ___________ may convene a special session if the legislature fails to complete important work during the regular session.
a. speaker of the House b. lieutenant governor c. House and Senate d. governor
There are _________members of the Texas Senate and ________ members of the Texas House.
a. 100; 435 b. 435; 100 c. 31; 150 d. 150; 31
c. 31; 150
The comptroller must certify the state's projected _____________ before the House and Senate may approve the budget.
a. population increase b. income tax revenues c. total revenues for two years d. property tax revenues
c. total revenues for two years
In the House, bills are assigned to committees by the ___________; in the Senate, the ___________ assigns the bills to committee.
a. governor; the lieutenant governor b. majority leader; president pro pempore c. speaker of the House; lieutenant governor d. speaker of the House; majority leader
c. speaker of the House; lieutenant governor
Texas legislators receive a salary of __________ per year.
a. $100,000 b. $135,000 c. $56,606 ( the median income for the average Texan) d. $7,200
Revenue bills must originate in the Texas
a. House. b. Senate. c. House or Senate. d. governor's office.
All of the following are important powers of the speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor except
a. recognition on the floor. b. appointing chairs of committees. c. deciding to which committee to refer bills. d. appointing judges to vacancies.
d. appointing judges to vacancies.
Which of the following is not a constitutional requirement for holding a seat in the Texas House of Representatives?
a. At least 21 years of age b. A natural-born U.S. citizen c. A resident of the state for at least two years d. A qualified voter
b. A natural-born U.S. citizen
The 81st Legislature considered approximately __________ bills during the 2009 legislative session.
a. 5,500 b. 7,400 c. 1,400 d. 50
The vast majority of bills are _____________, which means that they are set aside and never brought forward for consideration.
a. referred b. pigeonholed c. filibustered d. censored
If the governor fails to sign a bill within ten days of receiving it,
a. the bill is considered to be vetoed. b. the bill becomes law. c. the bill is sent back to conference committee. d. the House and Senate may vote to force the governor to sign the bill.
b. the bill becomes law.
In recent years, the level of partisanship in the Texas legislature has
a. increased. b. remained the same. c. increased under Democratic leaders and decreased under Republican leaders. d. declined sharply.
The governor may take any of the following actions except
a. sign the bill into law. b. veto the bill. c. override a veto. d. utilize the line-item veto on the appropriations bill.
c. override a veto.
Every bill introduced in the Texas legislature is assigned to a ____________ committee.
a. conference b. joint c. select d. standing
The regular legislative session in Texas is limited to ________ days in ______________ years.
a. 140; even-numbered b. 140; odd-numbered c. 180; even-numbered d. 180; odd-numbered
b. 140; odd-numbered
Bills that affect only city or county governments or special districts are called
a. special bills. b. local bills. c. general bills. d. concurrent resolutions.
b. local bills.
The special session is limited to a maximum of ________ days and may only deal with topics specified by the _____________.
a. 30; governor b. 140; lieutenant governor c. 180; speaker of the House and lieutenant governor d. 30; lieutenant governor
a. 30; governor
Debate on the House floor is determined by
a. the speaker. b. the Rules Committee. c. the standing committee that passes the bill. d. vote of a majority of the House.
a. the speaker.
Because all bills in the Senate have to pass by a suspension of the rules, for all practical purposes, the Senate needs _________ support to pass a bill.
a. simple majority b. absolute majority c. two-thirds d. unanimous
The rules and structure of the Texas legislature make party and party leadership _____________ than in the U.S. Congress.
a. more powerful b. almost exactly as powerful c. more powerful in the House and less powerful in the Senate d. less powerful
d. less powerful
The purpose of the ________________ committee is to reach a compromise on different versions of the same legislation coming from the House and Senate.
a. standing b. select c. joint d. conference
Texas House members differ from Texas Senate members because a. House members represent small districts and are subject to more frequent elections. b. House members represent people and senators represent counties. c. House members are elected from single-member districts and senators from multimember districts d. House members have term limits and senators do not have limits
a. House members represent small districts and are subject to more frequent elections.
The ability of the lieutenant Gov. and the Speaker of the House to control the final outcome of legislation comes from their power to
a. Appoint members of conference committees. b. Refuse to approve the work of standing committees. c. Exercise the legislative line item veto d. Change up to three lines in any bill.
a. Appoint members of conference committees.
The _____ provides the governor with a powerful tool with which to bargain with the legislature. a. ability to introduce five bills in a regular session b. post-adjournment veto c. pocket veto d. Message power
b. post-adjournment veto
Which state official, in large part, determines the amount of money the legislature may appropriate?
a. Governor b. Comptroller of public accounts c. Lieutenant Governor d. Attorney General
b. Comptroller of public accounts
The speaker of the Texas House is chosen
a. In a statewide election b. in a party line vote by members of the Texas House. c. By a majority of the members of the House whether Democrat or Republican. d. By seniority in the House.
c. By a majority of the members of the House whether Democrat or Republican.
What is the importance of the Supreme Court case Reynolds v. Sims?
a. It declared the constitutional principle of one person, one vote. b. It declared that preclearance was an unconstitutional abridgement of state power. c. It declared the Voting Rights Act of 1965 constitutional. d. It declared racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional. e. It declared poll taxes unconstitutional.
a. It declared the constitutional principle of one person, one vote.
Which of the following is neither a duty nor a power of the lieutenant governor in Texas?
a. the capacity to select the chairs of Texas Senate committees b. the ability to refer bills to committee c. the power to act as governor when the governor is away from the state d. the ability to call the Texas Senate into special session e. the duty to preside over the Texas Senate
d. the ability to call the Texas Senate into special session
In 2004 and 2005, three special sessions were called in the Texas legislature, to deal with
a. criminal law reform. b. budget crises. c. school finance. d. tax codes. e. deregulation of the pharmaceutical industry.
c. school finance.
For how long does the Texas legislature meet?
a. The legislature meets all year, with breaks for holidays and campaigning. b. The legislature meets for nine months biennially. c. The regular session is nine months every year. d. The regular legislative session lasts 140 days every two years. e. The legislature meets for six months every year.
d. The regular legislative session lasts 140 days every two years.
What is the main difference between a bill and a resolution?
a. A resolution must be passed unanimously; a bill only needs a majority. b. A resolution is just another name for a bill. c. All bills require the signature of the governor, but no resolution does. d. Unlike a bill, a resolution, if passed, lacks the force of a public law. e. A resolution deals only with issues affecting local government, while a bill deals with the entire state.
d. Unlike a bill, a resolution, if passed, lacks the force of a public law.
Which of the following statements about simple resolutions is correct?
a. They can only be initiated by either the Speaker or the lieutenant governor. b. They do not require the signature of the governor. c. They are only used to honor the outstanding achievements of Texas residents. d. They can only concern the internal rules of the Texas legislature. e. They are limited to matters of concern for no more than two House districts.
b. They do not require the signature of the governor.
Which of the following statements about the Texas legislature is incorrect?
a. Only the House has the power to impeach members of the executive and judicial branches of government. b. Only the Senate has the constitutional authority to launch investigations into problems concerning the state. c. The legislature decides the amount of money to be appropriated for every executive agency over a two-year period. d. Only the Senate has the power to try officials on impeachment charges. e. The House and the Senate can physically force members to attend legislative sessions.
b. Only the Senate has the constitutional authority to launch investigations into problems concerning the state.
What unconventional action did the Texas legislature take in 2003?
a. It did not pass a single bill. b. It did not overturn a single gubernatorial veto. c. It operated without electing a House Speaker. d. It redistricted a second time in a single decade. e. It extended its regular session by two months.
d. It redistricted a second time in a single decade.
Who has responsibility for redistricting the Texas delegation to the U.S. Congress?
a. the governor b. the U.S. Congress c. the Texas Supreme Court d. the governor, along with the Texas Senate e. the Texas legislature
e. the Texas legislature
Texas House members represent approximately ______ persons, and Texas Senators represent about ______ persons.
a. 1,000,000; 1,000,000 b. 500,000; 1,000,000 c. 170,000; 820,000 d. 250,000; 500,000 e. 50,000; 100,000
c. 170,000; 820,000
In the Texas legislature, the referral of a bill to a standing committee in the House and the Senate is the job of the
a. chair of the committee to which the bill is being referred. b. sergeant of the House and Senate. c. governor. d. secretary of state. e. Speaker of the House and lieutenant governor.
e. Speaker of the House and lieutenant governor.
Which of the following statements about partisanship in the Texas legislature is correct?
a. The legislature was divided by partisan bickering before the 1980s, but the conflict has decreased steadily since then. b. Typically, with Democrats as the majority party, partisanship has been much higher than with Republicans in control. c. The Texas constitution was amended in 1986 to forbid partisanship from interfering with the legislative process. d. Historically, partisanship has been rather low, but in recent years the legislature has moved into a more partisan era. e. Partisan rivalries have been high throughout the history of the Texas legislature.
d. Historically, partisanship has been rather low, but in recent years the legislature has moved into a more partisan era.
When the governor strikes out specific spending provisions in large appropriations bills, it is called
a. the post-adjournment veto. b. the pocket veto. c. an expenditure veto. d. pigeonholing. e. the line-item veto.
e. the line-item veto.
For how long does the Texas legislature meet?
a. The legislature meets all year, with breaks for holidays and campaigning. b. The legislature meets for nine months biennially. c. The regular session is nine months every year. d. The legislature meets for six months every year. e. The regular legislative session lasts 140 days every two years.
e. The regular legislative session lasts 140 days every two years.
In the Texas legislature, when a committee chair "pigeonholes" a bill, what happens?
a. The bill is set aside before it is ever discussed in committee. b. The chair refers a bill to only one subcommittee, rather than two or more. c. The bill is referred to a special session. d. The bill is immediately sent to the floor without a committee vote. e. The chair vetoes a bill after it has already received an affirmative committee vote.
a. The bill is set aside before it is ever discussed in committee.
In Texas, why is a governor's post-adjournment veto so powerful?
a. It can be overturned only by a two-thirds majority of both houses. b. It allows the governor to get maximum media coverage. c. It cannot be overturned by the legislature. d. It allows the governor to veto parts of a bill but not all of it. e. It can only be overturned by a unanimous vote in both houses.
c. It cannot be overturned by the legislature.
The Legislative Redistricting Board has the authority to draw new districts if
a. appointed to do so by the governor after a special redistricting session. b. ordered to do so by the state supreme court or a federal district court. c. the legislature fails to redistrict in the first regular session. d. a majority in both the House and the Senate vote to allow it. e. appointed to do so by the governor and lieutenant governor.
c. the legislature fails to redistrict in the first regular session.
In the Texas House of Representatives, who has the power to allow members to speak in floor debates?
a. the Speaker of the House b. the leader of the party of which the representative is a member c. the lieutenant governor d. the governor e. House members do not need official permission to speak in floor debates.
a. the Speaker of the House
The typical Texas legislator is most likely to be a
a. white, affluent businessman. b. white woman with a professional degree. c. white, working-class male. d. working-class Hispanic woman. e. middle-class African American lawyer.