POLS 207 Exam 3 - Jason Smith
Terms in this set (71)
Functions of Legislatures
-Enact laws (DO NOT implement)
-consider constitutional amendments, appointments, and state courts
-approve budgets (SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION)
-Serve constituents (great deal of time)
-Oversee state agencies (challenge state admin)
Why do incumbents win?
-Resources of Office (staff, offices, travel budgets)
-Professionalism (already held office so know how to act)
What is apportionment?
Dividing up seats in the house of representatives based on state population (reapportionment is updating it which they do every 10 yrs)
What is gerrymandering?
Drawing district lines to favor one party (partisan advantage)
What are the types of legislative sessions?
-Regular Session (biennial - every 2 yrs)
-Special Session (called for a particular reason by governor)
-Interim (time between sessions)
What do committees do?
Considered the workhorses of congress, do most of the work which includes:
-handle specific areas of duty (education, zoning, etc)
-Review and edit bills assigned to them to present to the House/Senate for voting
Who determines the membership of legislative committees?
Each party assigns their own members to the committee, then the speaker of the house or lieutenant gov appoints chairman of committee
What is pigeonholing?
When the chair does nothing with the bill (ignores it), the bill becomes dead
What are the requirements for being elected to Texas State Legislature?
-Senate: 26 yrs old, lived in TX for past 5 yrs, resident of district for 1 yr
-House: 21 yrs old, lived in TX for past 2 yrs, resident of district for 1 yr
What do most Texas State Legislators look like?
-Typically upper-middle class
-Flexible work responsibilities (lawyers, business owners)
-Majority are college educated
-Avg. 56 yrs old
-Recruited from affluent (wealthy) families
-Trained to deal with public policies
-Most state legislatures are part time bodies
How is legislative leadership chosen?
The Senate Republican and Democratic floor leaders are elected by the members of their party in the Senate at the beginning of each Congress
How long is the legislative session in TX?
140 days every other year (biennial)
Which programs do state and local governments provide?
-Social Services (medicare, medicaid, welfare, etc)
-Public Safety (police, fire, etc)
What is the impeachment process?
1. Articles of impeachment introduced to legislature just like any other bill
2. Initially house acts as "grand jury" where they can hand an indictment if a simple majority vote is achieved (there's enough evidence for governor to stand trial)
3. A trial is then held in the senate where 31 senators act as "jury" - by a 2/3 vote they can vote the governor guilty but the worst that can happen is removal from office
What is impeachment?
a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office. - can result in removal from office - ITS A POLITICAL PROCESS, NOT A LEGAL ONE
What are the executive positions in TX?
-Commissioner of the General Land Office
-Secretary of State
What powers does the governor have in TX?
-Veto/sign legislative bills
-Call a special session of congress
-Appoint executive boards and commissions
-Declare martial law during crisis (military power)
-Law enforcement power
What are the different types of vetoes?
-Regular (governor straight vetoes a bill like normal)
-Pocket (leaving a bill neither signed nor unsigned within 10 days of the legislature adjourining - if president does this, the bill dies. If governor does this, the bill becomes a law)
What is the role of governors in the budget process?
-Governor has extremely limited power - most of the time the legislature prepares the budget without really listening to governor
-Can veto budget
-HAS LIMITED POWER IN BUDGET PROCESS - most budget power lies in the legislature
What are executive orders?
Orders issued by the governor that only affect executive branch
What are the duties of the Lieutenant governor?
performs duties close to the VP of the white house:
- Preside as President over the Senate, voting in the event of a tie vote.
-Preside as Governor when the Governor is absent from the state or disabled.
-Have more power than the attorney general in TX, but most other places attorney general holds more power
What are the duties of the Attorney General?
More responsibilities and powers than lieutenant governor (except in TX, where liutenant governor has more power than attorney general)
-providing consumer protections from fraud
- protection of the state's resources by upholding state and federal environmental laws
-oversight or direct involvement in criminal court cases and appeals
-enforcement of judgments, such as child support and victim's programs
What are the duties of CFO's?
CFOs are treasurers, Auditors (ensures money is spent in accordance of the budget), Comptrollers - ALL of these help control the "public purse"
What are the duties of the secretary of state?
Chief custodian of records for 35 states
-Serves as the chief election officer for Texas, assisting election officials at the county level, and ensuring that election laws are interpreted fairly and are applied in uniformly throughout Texas
-Only appointed position in TX
Why is the post - adjournment veto so powerful?
The veto is absolute and there is no way for the legislature to override it
What is the No Child Left Behind Act?
In 2001, this required all public schools who want to receive federal funding to administer annual standardized tests - school funding and teacher salaries were linked to test results - NO LONGER ENFORCED
What is GDP (Gross Domestic Product)?
The total annual value of all goods and services produced domestically - measure of size of US economy
Included: Foreign company has US Factory
Not included: US company has foreign factory
What are progressive taxes?
Increase in income, higher the tax rate
What are regressive taxes?
Increase in income, the lower the tax rate
What are the sources of tax revenue for both state and local govs?
-Sales tax most important for state
-Property tax most important for local
Why do states keep corporate taxes low?
High corp taxes may cause businesses to relocate
Which taxes are considered regressive?
-Local property taxes
-Flat taxes (everyone pays the same tax rate regardless of how much income they have)
What are excise taxes?
Excise duties usually have one of two purposes: to raise revenue or to discourage particular behaviour. Taxes such as those on sales of fuel, alcohol and tobacco are often justified on both grounds.
What is meant by tax burden?
Taxes as a percent of a person's income; the larger the proportion of the income paid in taxes, the larger the tax burden
Which level of gov is affected the most by limitations on taxation?
How do most americans feel about taxes?
Most think taxes are too high
What is the merit system?
Appointing people to bureaucratic/gov positions based on skill
What is the spoils system?
Appointing people to office based on personal connections and power
What is outsourcing?
Taking jobs from within the state, company, or nation and hiring/contracting an outside company/organization to do the same work for a cheaper rate
What are the types of bonds?
1. General obligation bonds - common type of municipal bond in the United States that is secured by a state or local government's pledge to use legally available resources, such as tax revenues, to repay bond holders.
2. Revenue bonds - used for capital improvements like toll roads - go to polls to approve and they pay the bond off through tolls
How is academic performance measured?
-educational attainment (if a state has a high percent of post secondary education, it speaks to the jobs and education system available)
-the dropout rate
What are magnet schools?
Schools emphasizing instruction in particular areas in an effort to improve quality and attract students - aims to bring together students of various backgrounds, has no tuition, admin/staff are required to have state certifications
What are charter schools?
Publicly funded independent schools est. by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority
What are vouchers?
The government giving you permission and money to attend a school you're not zoned for in light of the zoned school failing
When can money be given to religious educational institutions?
-When money is going towards a secular purpose
-When it neither advances not prohibits any religion
-When it avoids excessive government entanglement
How do states ensure local compliance with state educational policy?
They allocate funding in certain directives, and allow for school boards to dictate operations of the school
What body typically controls the education within a state?
State Board of Education
Where do most schools get their revenue from?
What do school superintendents do?
Responsible for the management and day-to-day operations of the public schools. 3 major responsibilities:
1.) Sets the agenda for school board decisions
2.) makes policy recommendations
3.) implements board decisions.
Why is zoning important?
helps the government coordinate services with land use, stabilize property values, and community planning - determines which schools students are allowed to attend
Who is responsible for public welfare?
The government (usually federal and state since great depression)
What is the payroll tax?
A tax on earned income that supports the Social Security and Medicare programs (also known as FICA)
What has been the effect of Social Security?
Largely responsible for the elderly's "victory" in the war against poverty - problem is is that there is not enough workers to fund the system
What changes occurred with the introduction of the TANF program?
Reduced the duration one could receive public assistance and limited who could qualify - made it harder to receive benefits
What is medicare?
healthcare for the elderly
Which public assistance program do states spend the most on?
Medicaid (aid for the poor)
What do interest groups do when giving money?
They are essentially buying access to politicians
Who usually draws district lines?
What makes things happen in the house and senate?
Strong leadership, as they have lots of power
Do most bills become laws?
NO! Thousands may be introduced but only a handful will go on to become laws
What are formal and informal powers?
-Formal - powers granted explicitly in the constitution or state statutes
-Informal - stems from personal strengths
What are the roles of the governor?
-Political party leader
-Ceremonial Head of State
-State opinion leader
Is the governor in charge of any other positions?
NO! There is no 1 person in charge of the bureaucracy in TX, unlike the president is in the national gov
What is executive power?
The power to persuade, NOT command
Can a new governor un-appoint any of the previous governor's appointees?
NO! They must wait until an appointee's 6-year term is up to appoint someone new to the position
Where do governors have power in budget implementation?
On the edges - making the budget and vetoing have more governor power, but in between those two the governor is weak
What is the most important tax in TX?
How much has the debt increased so far?
It has quadrupled
What kind of budget must every local and state government have?
A balanced budget
What is vocational training and where is it found?
It is mostly found overseas and is a type of training which taxes more but increases employment as the training is specific for a certain job
When and to who did the welfare policy shift?
Welfare policy shifted from the responsibility of the family to the responsibility of the government during the Great Depression
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