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Terms in this set (114)
DelegateAn elected official who acts as an agent of the majority that elected her or him to office and carries out, to the extent possible, the wishes of that majorityEmergency clauseLanguage that makes a bill effective immediately upon being signed into law rather than subject to the customary ninety-day waiting periodFilibusterAn effort to kill a bill by engaging in unlimited debate and refusing to yield the floor to another member, ultimately preventing a vote on the billFiscal noteA required document outlining the probable costs of the legislationFloor debatePeriod during which a bill is brought up before the entire chamber for debateFloor leaderA party member who reminds legislators of the party's position on a bill and encourages members to vote with the rest of the party caucus; the floor leader is assisted by one or more deputy floor leadersGerrymanderingThe practice of politicians creating oddly shaped electoral districts to maximize their political advantage in an upcoming electionIdeological caucusA special legislative caucus in the state legislature that promotes an ideological agendaIntroduce (a bill)To officially bring a bill before a legislative chamber for the first time; this first official step in the formal legislative process is reserved for members of the legislatureIssue caucusA special legislative caucus in the state legislature that promotes bipartisan and cross-chamber support for policies and bills advocating positions inside a relatively narrow range of policy areas or political issuesJoint resolutionA legislative act whose approval by both chambers results in amendment to the Texas Constitution; an amendment must be approved by voters at the next electionKiller amendmentLanguage added to a bill on an unrelated or controversial topic in order to make the bill unacceptable to the majority of the legislature, which will then be more likely to vote against itLegislative Budget Board (LBB)The group that develops a proposed state budget for legislative considerationLegislative immunityThe protection from arrest that legislators receive to ensure that state and local officials cannot interfere with a legislator's efforts to represent their constituentsLegislative Redistricting Board (LRB)Created by a 1948 amendment to the Texas Constitution, this group steps in if the state legislature is unable to pass a redistricting plan or when a state or federal court invalidates a plan submitted by the legislature; the LRB is active only with respect to redistricting of the state legislatureLieutenant governorThe presiding officer of the Texas Senate, elected directly by the voters; also serves as a member of the Texas executive branch and assumes the duties of the governor when the governor is out of state, dies in office, resigns from office, or is impeachedLine-item vetoThe ability of the executive to selectively veto only some parts of a bill; in Texas, available only on spending (appropriations) billsMajority-minority districtsElection districts in which the majority of the population comes from a racial or ethnic minorityMarkupProcess whereby a committee goes line by line through a bill to make changes without formal amendmentsMinority and women's caucusesSpecial legislative caucuses in the state legislature that represent the unique concerns and beliefs of women and ethnic groups across a broad range of policy issuesMultimember district (MMD)An election system in which the state is divided into many election districts but each district elects more than one person to the state legislatureNonpartisan or bipartisan independent commissionA system of drawing electoral district lines that attempts to remove politics from the process of redistrictingOne person, one voteShorthand term for the requirement of the U.S. Supreme Court that election districts be roughly equal in populationOversightThe process whereby the legislature reviews policies and decisions of the executive branch to make sure the executive branch is following the intentions of the legislatureParty caucus chairA party leader whose main job is to organize party members to vote for legislation on the floorParty legislative caucusThe organization of the members of a specific legislative chamber who belong to the same political party; normally shortened to party caucusPoliticoAn elected official who is expected to follow the wishes of the electorate on some issues but on others is permitted more decision-making leeway; a hybrid of the trustee and delegatePresident pro temporeA presiding officer elected by the members of the Texas Senate; takes over when the lieutenant governor is unavailableProcedural standing committeeA type of standing committee that controls how the legislature functionsProfessional legislatureA legislature that meets annually, often for nine months of the year or more; a professional legislator is provided a professional-level salary and generous allowances to hire and keep support and research staffsQuorumThe minimum number of members in a legislative body who need to be present for the body to conduct business: in the Texas Senate, a quorum is twenty-one members; in the Texas House of Representatives, a quorum is 100 membersRedistrictingThe periodic adjustment of the lines of electoral district boundariesRegular sessionMeetings of a legislature that are required by a constitution or law; the Texas Legislature meets every other year for 140 daysRepresentationThe relationship between an elected official and the electorateResolutionA legislative act that expresses the opinion of the legislature on an issue or changes the organizational structure of the legislatureRiderAn addition to a bill that deals with an unrelated subject, such as changing some aspect of law or public policy or spending money or creating programs in a specific member's districtRoll call voteA form of voting for which a permanent record of each member's vote is created; used for more important votesSelect or special committeeA legislative work group created by the lieutenant governor or Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives for a specific purpose; called a joint committee when the lieutenant governor and Speaker create a select committee with members from both chambersSimple resolutionA legislative act that addresses organizational issues; may be limited to a single houseSingle-member district (SMD)An election system in which the state is divided into many election districts and each district elects just one person to the state legislatureSpeaker of the HouseThe presiding officer of the Texas House of RepresentativesSpecial legislative caucusAn organization of members of the state legislature who share a common interest or have constituencies with a common interestSpecial sessionA meeting of a legislature that occurs outside the regular legislative session; in Texas, special sessions are called by the governor and last up to thirty daysStanding committeeA permanent, chamber-specific formal work group that typically exists across sessions and across electionsStanding committeeA permanent, chamber-specific formal work group that typically exists across sessions and across electionsSubstantive standing committeeA type of standing committee that is authorized to review and revise proposed policy bills and resolutions before action by the legislatureSubstantive standing committeeA type of standing committee that is authorized to review and revise proposed policy bills and resolutions before action by the legislatureSupermajorityA majority that is larger than a simple majority of 50 percent plus one; supermajorities include requirements of 60 percent, two-thirds, three-fourths, or 80 percent to make a decisionTerm limitA legal limitation on the number of terms an elected official may serve in officeTrusteeAn elected official who is entrusted to act in the best interests of the electorate based on his or her knowledge; the representative is understood to be generally better informed than the broader electorateTurnoverWhen current officeholders step down from office and are replaced by new officeholders; turnover may result from retirement, defeat in an election, or term limitsAgriculture commissionerAn executive position created by the Texas Legislature and elected by voters in Texas; the commissioner oversees agricultural policy, weights and measures, and school lunch programsAppointed regulatory commissionAn agency of the state government whose members oversee a specific department of state government, are appointed by the governor, and are confirmed by the Texas SenateAttorney generalChief legal adviser for the state who represents the state in courts and issues advisory opinions on legal matters to the governor, legislature, and other state agenciesBureaucracyA method of organizing any large public or private organization that includes hierarchical structure, division of labor, standard operating procedures, and advancement by meritCommissioner of the General Land OfficeThis office administers state-owned lands, controls the Permanent School Fund (PSF), and controls leases for the development of mineral and other resources on public lands; the office is sometimes called the land commissionerComptroller of public accountsAn official who collects fees and taxes, invests state funds, estimates revenue, and oversees payments by the state for goods and servicesElected boardA directly elected board, such as the State Board of Education or Railroad Commission, that oversees a specific department of Texas governmentLieutenant governorThe presiding officer of the Texas Senate, elected directly by the voters; also serves as a member of the Texas executive branch and assumes the duties of the governor when the governor is out of state, dies in office, resigns from office, or is impeachedMerit-based civil service systemA system in which people receive government jobs based on a set of qualifications and formal training; job promotion and pay raises are based on job performanceOff-year electionAn election that occurs in a year in which the U.S. president is not on the ballot, for example 2014, 2018, or 2022; these are also called midterm electionsPatronage systemAn arrangement in which an elected official rewards supporters with public jobs, appointments, and government contractsPermanent School Fund (PSF)A fund set aside to finance education in Texas; the state's largest source of investment incomePlural executiveAn executive branch in which traditional executive functions have been divided among several, mostly elected, officeholders rather than residing in a single person, the governorPolitical ambition ladderThe manner in which a political figure has come up through the ranks, working through various levels of state governmental offices and positions on the way to the top position; climbing several levels on the ladder can increase a politician's contacts, allies, and political savvySecretary of stateAn executive position responsible for business licensing and regulation and also the administration and supervision of elections; also serves as the chief protocol officer of TexasSunset review processA formal assessment of the effectiveness of all statutory boards, commissions, and state agenciesSunshine lawsLaws designed to make government transparent and accessibleAffirmAppellate court upholds the lower court's decisionAppellate jurisdictionThe authority to hear an appeal from a lower court that has already rendered a decision; an appellate court reviews the court record from the original trial and does not hear new evidenceAt-large electionAn election in which a city or county is treated as a single district and candidates are elected from the entire district as a wholeBeyond a reasonable doubtThe standard burden of proof necessary to find a defendant guilty in a criminal trial; the defendant is presumed innocentCivil caseA case in which an aggrieved party sues for damages claiming that he or she has been wronged by another individualCivil defendantThe party alleged to have committed the wrong at issue in a civil suitCompensatory damagesMonetary damages designed to compensate the injured partyConcurrent jurisdictionA system in which different levels of courts have overlapping jurisdiction or authority to try the same type of caseConcurring opinionAn opinion written by justices who agree with the decision but not with the reasoning of the courtCriminal caseA case in which an individual is charged by the state with violating the law, and the state brings the suitCriminal defendantA person charged with committing a crimeCumulative votingA system that allows voters to take the total number of positions to be selected in a district and vote that number of times, concentrating their votes on one or a few candidatesDe novoTo hear an appeal with a new trial in the absence of an official case recordDissenting opinionAn opinion written by justices who disagree with the decision of the courtEn bancAn appeal that is heard by the entire court of appeals rather than by a select panel of judgesEnhanced penaltiesA penal code provision that specifies conditions under which the accused can be charged with a higher-degree offenseExclusive jurisdictionA particular court given the sole right to hear a specific type of caseGrand juryA panel of twelve jurors that determines whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a trial and either issues an indictment or returns no billIncumbency advantageThe advantage enjoyed by the incumbent candidate, or current officeholder, in elections; the advantage is based on greater visibility, a proven record of public service, and often better access to resourcesIndictmentA document (in the form of a true bill) issued by a grand jury that indicates there is enough evidence to warrant a trialJudicial federalismA system in which judicial authority is shared between levels of governmentJurisdictionThe court's sphere of authorityMagistrate functionsThe authority to conduct the preliminary procedures in criminal cases, including issuing search and arrest warrants, conducting preliminary hearings, and setting bail for more serious crimesMajority opinionThe official decision and reasoning of the appellate courtName recognitionMaking a voting choice based on familiarity with or previous recognition of a candidate's nameOriginal jurisdictionThe authority to hear the initial case; evidence is submitted to establish the facts of the casePer curiam opinionAn opinion issued by the court as a whole; these opinions are not signed by individual justicesPetit juryA trial jury; jurors attend a trial, listen to evidence, and determine whether a defendant is innocent or guiltyPlaintiffThe party who is bringing a civil suit and claiming to have been wrongedPreponderance of evidenceThe burden of proof in a civil case, which is lower than that in a criminal case; the plaintiff must show merely that the defendant is likely to have committed the wrongProbateThe process by which a deceased person's will is validated by the court, and can be legally executedProsecutorA lawyer who represents the government and brings a case in criminal trialsPunitive damagesLarger monetary awards designed to punish the defendant and, perhaps, send a message to the larger societyRemandAppellate court sends the case back to the lower court to be reexaminedReverseAppellate court rejects the lower court's decisionStraight-ticket votingThe practice of selecting all the candidates for office who are running under a party label by checking off a single box marked with the party label