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We the People Texas edition

bicameral legislature

having a legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses; opposite of unicameral legislature

regular session

the 140-day period during which the Texas legislature meets to consider and pass bills; occurs only in odd-numbered years


occurring every two years

special session

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 bill affecting only units of local government, such as a city, county, or special district

special bill

a bill that gives an individual or corporation a special exemption from state law

general bill

a bill that applies to all people and/or property in the state


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

concurrent resolution

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

joint resolution

a resolution, commonly a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution or a 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

simple resolution

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

constituent powers

efforts made by a member of a legislature on behalf of his or her constituency


citizens living in the district from which an official is elected

electoral powers

the legislature's mandated role in counting returns in the elections for governor and lieutenant governor

investigative powers

the power, exercised by the House, Senate, or both chambers jointly, to investigate problems facing the state

directive and supervisory powers

the legislature's power over the executive branch; for example, the legislature determines the size of appropriations for state agencies

judicial powers

the power of the House to impeach and of the Senate to convict members of the executive and judicial branches of state government


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 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)

consideration by standing committee

the third step in the legislative process, during which a bill is killed, amended, or heard by a standing committee

floor action

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

conference committee

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

action by the governor

the final step in the legislative process, during which the governor either signs or vetoes a bill

standing committee

a permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject, such as finance or agriculture


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 tactic that members of the Senate use to prevent action on legislation they oppose by continuously holding the floor and speaking until the majority backs down. In Texas, Senate rules require that senators stand upright at his/her desk and remain on topic while speaking.

post-adjournment veto

a veto of a bill that occurs after the legislature adjourns, thus preventing the legislature from overriding it

line-item veto

the power of the executive to veto specific provisions (lines) of a bill passed by the legislature


the governor's power to turn down legislation; can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate


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


the Speaker of the House's power to control floor debate by recognizing who can speak before the House

single-member district

an electorate that is allowed to select only one representative from each district; the normal method of representation in the United States


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 to existing districts

one-person, one-vote principle

the principle that all districts should have roughly equal populations

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