Presentation on theme: "Unit V Notes The Legislative Branch. Why is Congress called the Worlds Most Exclusive Club? There are only 535 Members and it costs between $45 and $300."— Presentation transcript:
Why is Congress called the Worlds Most Exclusive Club? There are only 535 Members and it costs between $45 and $300 Million to win an election!
Why is Congress called the First Branch? It is the first mentioned in the Constitution It is the most powerful of the three branches with 18 delegated powers and implied powers It is the only branch that is directly elected by the people of the United States.
What is the primary job of Congress? To make laws for the good of the people of the United States of America
What is bicameralism? Bicameral means that a legislative body, like Congress, has two houses. We have the US House of Representative and the US Senate.
Why did the Framers choose to have a bicameral legislature? History: we had positive experiences with bicameral legislatures in the past Practicality: it settled the dispute over representation between VA and NJ Theoretically: it allows for checks and balances within the most powerful branch
What is the Term of Congress? Congress has a two year term. Terms begin at noon on January 3 rd of every odd numbered year.
What is a session? A session is a formal meeting of the Congress. Two formal sessions are required each year. Traditionally, Congress met in two 4 month sessions each year. Today, Congress meets year-round with short recesses in: – October – November – December – March – August
What is a special session? A congressional session called by the President after the Congress has adjourned their term. Last one called was 1948 by Truman. Cant call a special session if Congress is in a regular session. Congress will adjourn this term when the 113 th term is beginning.
The US House of Representatives How is the size of the House determined? – The Constitution allows that the House set its own size – The must grant every State at least one seat – The rest of the seats are apportioned by the population of each State – The size of the House was made permanent in 1929 – There are 435 US Representatives today
US House of Representatives Each State is entitled to one seat 7 States get only one seat (too small for more) Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana Each State gets one seat for every 944,000 residents
US House of Representatives What are Delegates and Commissioners? – Delegates: represent our Federal District; Washington, D.C. – Commissioners: represent our territories (Guam, American Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Marianas Islands) – Neither have a vote or voice on the floor – Can debate and vote in Committee
US House of Representatives Reapportionment: adjusting the number of seats that each State receives based on changes in their population as reflected in each decades census.
2010 reapportionment Texas received an additional 4 seats This will bring our # of Representatives to 36
US House of Representatives Who is your US Representative? Randy Weber, 14 th District of Texas – Is member of the Republican Party – Lives in Pearland, TX – Graduate of ACC and U of H Clear Lake – Owns an AC repair company in Pearland – Served on Pearland City Council for 2 terms – Served 2 terms in the Texas House – Married to Brenda, a teacher at Pearland HS, for 34 years – Has 3 children and 4 grandchildren
Randy Weber- US Representative 14 th District of Texas Committee Assignments: – Foreign Affairs – Science, Space, and Technology
What did the Reapportionment Act of 1929 do? Set the permanent size of the House at 435 Allowed the Census Bureau determine the number of seats granted to each State Requires congressional approval of the Reapportionment Plan
How many people does each member of the House serve today? 944,000 Determine by the following: – 1. count the population of the US – 2. divide the US population by 435 to get the # of people each member will serve Example: US population is 41,000,000 Divide by 435= 944,000 people per Representative -3. Take the population of Texas and divide by 944,000 to see how many representatives we should get. -4. 34,000,000 divided by 944,000=36Reps
When are congressional elections held? On the Tuesday, following the first Monday in November, every even-numbered year – Article One, Section 8 of the US Constitution
What is the term of office in the House? The House has a 2 year term. Constant Campaign is the result.
What is gerrymandering? Drawing lines for congressional districts to the advantage of the party in power Wesberry v. Sanders: made gerrymandering illegal – one man, one vote rule – Each District must be on contiguous territory – Each District must be of compact size – Each District must have the same number of people
What are the legal/constitutional requirements to be a member of the House of Representatives? 25 years of age US citizen for a minimum of 7 years Resident of the State from which elected
What are the traditional, unwritten, voter-imposed requirements to be a Member of the HoR? White (78%) Male (87 %) Protestant (65%) Married w/ 2.45 kids Lawyer (56%) Over the age of 50 (54 is ave) Upper level of income ($490,000 is ave.) Dog owner (94%) Born in State (88%) Etc…
What can the House do to a Member- elect? Refuse to seat him by a majority vote Last attempt was made in 1900. Representative-elect Roberts (D-Utah)was denied his seat due to his polygamy.
The 3 levels of punishment for a Member of Congress are: Censure : a warning Sanction: warning + fine Expulsion: removal from office These are not judicial proceedings, so a person cannot appeal the judgment of the Speaker of the House Last censure: 2009 Rep. Joe Myers (R-SC) Last expulsion: 1990 Rep. R. Myers (D-Ohio)
The United States Senate 100 Senators 2 per State Only way to increase the size of the Senate is to add States
17 th Amendment Changed the way Senators are elected Originally elected by States legislatures NOW: elected by population of each State the popular election of the Senate
Terms of Office for Senate Senators serve 6 year terms Terms in the Senate are staggered 1/3 rd of the Senate is up for election every 2 yrs Called a continuous body
Why do Senators have a longer term than Representatives? The Senate was created to be a more deliberative body. The longer term allows Senators to be: 1. Freer from public opinion 2. able to vote their conscious 3. less constrained by the pressures of constant campaigning
Why is the Senate called a continuous body? Since only 1/3 rd of the Senate is up for re- election every two years, the majority of the Senate is always experienced. Unlike the House, the Senate does not have start over every two years.
The legal or constitutional requirements for the Senate Be at least 30 years of age Be a U.S. citizen for a minimum of 9 years Be a resident of the State from which you were elected
Traditional or voter-imposed qualifications for the Senate White (only 3 non-whites) Male (only 16 women) Protestant (70%) College Grad (80% Ivy League) Lawyers (68%!) Married w/ kids (98%) Previously served in government (82%) Military service (58%) Born in the State from which elected (90%) Dog owner (100%) Etc….
Senator John Cornyn First elected to the Senate in 2002 Resident of San Antonio Serves as Deputy Whip of the Republican Party Born in Houston (Rice Village) Married w/ two daughters Graduate of Trinity University J.D. from St. Marys School of Law Elected Attorney General of Texas 4 terms Elected as Texas Supreme Court Justice 2 terms Current Committee assignments: – Armed Services – Judiciary – Budget – Small Business – Economic Development
Senator Ted Cruz First elected to US Senate in 2012 Served as Solicitor General of Texas Taught as UT Law School for 6 years Graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law Clerked for Chief Justice Renquist
Comparison of the House and Senate House of RepresentativesSenate Size435100 Term of Office2 yrs6yrs ConstituencyDistrict (750,000 people)State (30 million in TX) Requirements25/7/State30/9/State PrestigeLessMore Power per MemberLessMore Media CoverageLessMore Job DescriptionPolicy SpecialistPolicy Generalist Debate RulesVERY StrictFormal/ Not Strict
Members of Congress are NOT a Cross- section of America! Congress does not look like America Average Member of Congress is: – White – Male – Protestant – Married (to original spouse) – Average of 2.5 kids – An Ivy League grad – Lawyer – Born in the State they serve – Very wealthy (ave. $758,000 yr) – Previous govt service – Military experience
Roles of Congress Legislators: make laws for the U.S. (1,000 per yr) Committee Members: debate the merits of bills; majority of legislative work is done in committees Represent Constituents: vote as directed by the folks back in their District/State Servant of Constituents: help people in the District/State with problems involving the Gov Politicians: constantly campaigning for re-election and raising funds Have to do all 5 every day….. Sometimes at the same time!!!!
Congressional Voting Philosophies Trustee: vote is based on own knowledge and judgment Delegate: vote is based on the public opinion of the District/State Partisan: vote is based on political party Politicos: try to combine judgment, public opinion, and party… make everyone happy!
Congressional Pay Members of Congress are some of the only people in the world who get to decide their own pay! Current salary: $174,000 (House and Senate) Speaker/Pres-Pro Tem: $223,500 Maj./Min Leaders: $193,400
Restrictions on pay raises: – Voters: We hate it when they raise their pay! – 27 th Amendment: limits pay; cannot raise their pay in the same term; must get re-elected to get raise
Health Insurance Coverage Members of Congress have one of the best health care plans in the country Monthly premiums they pay $55.58-157.46 for coverage; Taxpayers pay 75% of the premiums Office of the Attending Physician: Members pay $491.00 a year. Covers all except: – Surgery – Eyeglasses/contact lens – Dental Care – Prescriptions (Members pay $5-20 per month) No charge for medical care at: – Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital – Bethesda National Navy Hospital (Family members are not eligible for free care)
COLAs Cost of Living Adjustments One of the ways that Congress receives raises without actually voting to raise their pay When we have inflation, Congress gets an automatic pay raise based upon the inflation rate Last year COLA was 4%
Office Budgets: House Called the Members Representational Allowance How much? Between $1,673,592-1,781,385 per year – Amount depends on 3 things: Distance of home State from DC Cost of office space in congressional district Number of households in your congressional district
Office Budgets: House What does the MRA cover? – Salaries of Staff Members (15-20 people) – Equipment (computers, copiers, fax, phones,…) – District office rental (home State) – Member and staff travel (some) – Supplies and materials (paper, toner, pens, …) – Printing and reproduction of speeches, photos, mailers, …)
Senate Budgets The Senate has budgets for each of the following areas: (amounts based on size of State) – Office Staff : $2.7-4.3 Million – Computer Services : $180,000-285,000 – Home State Furniture and Equipment: $63,000 – Reception room Allowance: $5,000 a year – State Office Rent: undisclosed – DC Office/State Office Equipment: undisclosed – Phone Service : unlimited – Paper and Envelopes: unlimited – Printing: unlimited
Perks A perk is a non-cash fringe benefit Congress may add these items for themselves by a majority vote Usually added to an important bill in the hopes that no one will notice!
Congressional Perks Tax Exemption: for 2 nd residence requirement Insurance: life, auto, etc… Health Care Parking: free at Capitol and Reagan National
Congressional Perks License plates: allow Members to park almost anywhere in DC
Congressional Perks Plants for office from National Botanical Gardens Research from Library of Congress Gym Membership
Congressional Perks Food and Beverage Allowance
Congressional Perks Souvenirs!!! See Ms Stimsons giant collection – Flags – Key chains – Calendars – Books – Etc…
Congressional Perks Ice delivered twice a day to the offices
Congressional Perks Free passports and visas Bomb shelters IRS will do their tax returns Gift Allowance
Retirement Benefits Members of Congress are entitled to both – Federal Employees Retirement System Benefits A federal matching program. Members pay in 7.5% of salary per year. Government matches. Pays 80% of final salary if: – Are age 62 w/ at least 5 yrs service – Are age 50 w/ at lease 20 years service – This would be $139,200 per year on average – Social Security Retirement Benefits Must pay in 6.2% of pay. Government matches. Average member gets $2,500 per month ($30,000 year)
Congressional Privileges Free Speech and Debate Privilege: – Members cannot be sued for libel or slander for anything that they say in debate on the floor of the House or Senate Arrest Privilege: – Members cannot be stopped, ticketed, or arrested on their way to a session or during a session, with the exception of the following crimes: Treason Bribery Breach of the Peace
Chapter 11: Powers of Congress Tax Spend/Appropriate Funds DECLARE WAR Eminent Domain Make all federal laws Set rules for military service Fund the military Regulate Native American lands Regulate the federal district (Washington, D.C.) Fund all federal building projects Promote arts and sciences Etc……….
Chapter 12: Congress Organizes Presiding Officers: – Speaker of the House: Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) – Chosen in an election of the Members of the HoR – Job Description: leader of Majority Party in HoR – Powers: Sets the agenda (order of legislation) Calls on Members to speak Assigns Members to committees/Assigns Chairs Seats Members Rules on points of order Sends bills to committee(s)
Speaker of the House: Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) Pay/Perks: – Salary of $223,500 per year – Perks: Secret Service Protection Limo/Driver Airplane (Air Force 3) Helicopter (Marine 3) 2 offices and staff of 160+ Dining Room and Staff at Capitol Entertainment Allowance Etc…
President of the Senate Vice President Joe Biden (D-Del) Chosen when elected V-P by the Electoral College Job: Presiding Officer of the US Senate Powers: – Call on Senators to speak – Rules on points of order – Counts votes
President of the Senate Joe Biden (D-Del) Pay : $223,500 per year Perks: – Secret Service Protection (self and family) – Limo and Driver – Lives at US Naval Observatory in Georgetown – Full domestic staff (chefs, maids, gardeners, etc…) – Air Force 2 – Marine 2 – 3 offices: White House, OEB, and Senate – Staff of 100+ – Travel Allowance – Entertainment Allowance
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Takes over when the Vice President is out Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HA) Same powers and pay Perks: – Secret Service Protection – Limo and Driver – Can use Air Force 3 and Marine 3 when not in use by Speaker
Leadership Offices in the House Majority Party: Republicans – Leader: head of his/her party. Tries to get Party agenda made into law. Acts as spokesman for Party in Congress. – Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Senate Majority Whip: Dick Durbin (D-IL) Assistant to Leader Count Votes Insure Democrats have 51 on bills, 60 for debate
Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ken) Leader of Republicans in the Senate Prevent Democrats from getting to 60 votes Filibuster Democratic legislation when possible
Senate Minority Whip: Jon Kyl (R-AZ) Assistant to Minority Leader Counts votes Insures the Democrats dont get 60 votes!
Committee Chairs How are they selected? – In the House, the Speaker chooses – In the Senate, Majority and Minority Leaders choose – Two factors most important in selection: Seniority Party Membership (always in the Majority Party)
Committee Chairs Job: manage the bills assigned to their committee Why so powerful? They can speed up or delay consideration on a bill, amend a bill, pigeon-hole a bill, offer a committee bill, or kill the bill directly.
Seniority An unwritten tradition in Congress which states that those members with the greatest number of years of service will receive the best jobs, offices, staffers, etc…
Job(s) of a Committee Divide the work load Consider the merits of a bill Make a recommendation to the Congress about the bills passage or failure Research bills Study important national issues Decide how tax dollars will be spent Etc…
Kinds of Committees Standing: permanent groups to which bills are sent based on subject matter (one house) Select: temporary group set up to investigate (one house) Joint: permanent group made up of members of both houses Conference: temporary group made of up members of both houses with the purpose of compromising on proposed bills Subcommittee: a smaller division of a committee
House Rules Committee The most powerful of all congressional committees WHY? – All bills must go through the Rules Committee before they can be debated – They place the bill on the calendar (or not) – They can place the bill on the calendar at a unique time or date (3:00AM Christmas Eve, Feb 31 st, etc…)
How a bill becomes a law (House ) About 10,000 bills are proposed each term. Only about 10% become law.
15 Steps to a Bill Becoming Law in the House of Representatives 1. Creation/authorship 2. Introduction of bill Types of Bills/Resolutions: a. Public Bill: affects entire nation b. Private Bill: impacts one person c. Joint Resolution: H/S declare policy d. Concurrent Resolution: H/S grant loan e. Resolution: change rules in 1 house f. Rider: amendment to a bill that could not pass on its own
Bill to Law (House) 3. First Reading (by Member) 4. Sent to Committee by Speaker (probably a Standing Committee by subject) 5. Sent to Sub-Committee by Committee Chair
Bill to Law (House) 6. Sub-Committee Actions: – Debate Bill – Hold Public Hearings – Invite people to testify about the bill – Investigate the bill – Report the bill back to committee Favorably (recommend passage) Unfavorably (kill it!)
Bill to Law (House) 7. Sent back to Full Committee for debate, hearings, investigation, and vote – 5 committee options: Report favorably Refuse to report the bill Amend the bill Offer a committee bill (completely different) Report unfavorably
Bill to Law (House) 8. Bill is sent to the RULES COMMITTEE – Schedule bill for debate and vote (or not) – Place bill on one of the calendars in the House May select unusual day/time May leave it off the calendar May schedule debate for the end of the session/term Can do any of these to kill the bill
Bill to Law (House) Bill is place on calendar: – Union: all $ bills – House: all public bills – Private: all private bills – Corrections: minor bills – Discharge: discharge petitions (require 3/5 th vote)
Bill to Law (House) 10. Second Reading and Floor Debate – Must have a quorum (majority of members) present to debate (220). – DEBATE RULES: Must be recognized by Speaker Must stand Must speak on the topic Must use proper language Must abide by time limit
Bill to Law (House) 11. Members vote on bill – Methods: Voice Standing Teller Record (all major bills) Voting Options: Aye Nay Present
Bill to Law (House) 12. Third Reading (every bill must be read 3 times in each House before it can become law) 13. Final (formal) vote. Always a record vote using the electronic voting machines 14. Speaker Boehner signs the bill (if it passes) 15. Bill is Engrossed (printed) and sent over to the Senate to be considered.
Bill to Law (Senate) 1. Introduction: member is called on by Pres. 2. Bill gets 1 st and 2 nd reading by Clerk 3. Bill is sent to Committee by Majority and Minority Leaders. Must go to subject matter committee! 4. Bill is sent to sub-committee by Committee Chair.
Bill to Law (Senate) 5. Sub-committee action: – Hold public hearings – Listen to expert testimony – Call witnesses – Debate merits of bill – Amend bill – Recommend passage/failure – Etc…
Bill to Law (Senate) 6. Bill is sent back to full committee – Committee will create a report for Senators so they will have a brief summary of the bill. 7. Bill is called to the floor for debate/vote by the Majority Leader. Cannot pigeon-hole bills in the Senate.
Bill to Law (Senate) 8. Floor Debate: – Rules- Must be recognized Must stand May speak on any topic No time limit Cannot be interrupted except for a question or a point of order FILIBUSTER! An attempt to kill a bill by talking it to death. Cloture Rule is only way to stop. Need 60 votes to get cloture. Must vote before filibuster begins!
Bill to Law (Senate) 9. Floor Vote: always a record vote 10. Signed by President of the Senate (if passes) 11. Sent to the President of the United States
Final Steps: Bill to Law If Bill passed in exactly the same format in the House and Senate, The President has 4 options: – 1. sign into law – 2. veto bill – Pocket veto (Congress out of session10 days) – Do nothing and let pass (Congress in session, passes after 10 days)
Conference Committee If House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill, they each appoint Members to a conference committee. Their compromise bill goes back through the process.
Final Steps! If the President vetoed the bill, Congress needs a 2/3 rd vote in the House and Senate to over-ride. If cant get 2/3rds vote, bill dies. Cannot be re-introduced until next term.
Budget Process Current US National Debt is : $16.82 Trillion Your share is : $51,679.19
Federal Budget is made of two types of spending Entitlement: required spending on things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc…(64% of the budget) Discretionary: annual spending on programs like defense, agriculture, education, etc… (36% of the budget)
Steps in Budget Process 1. President and OMB propose by Sept 30 th 2. House sends plan to committees – Ways and Means – Appropriations 3. House committees must act by Oct 15 th 4. Budget is called out for vote by Speaker, debated, amended, passed, sent to Senate 5. Senate Budget Committee debates, researches, revises, etc… 6. Pres of Senate calls budget out for vote. Cannot be filibustered. Vote by Oct 31 st. 7. House/Senate go to conference committee. Compromise bill passes. 8. President gets budget. 9. President must sign by Nov 10 th or risk shut down of govt.
Causes of the National Debt Corporate Welfare: Tax $ spent to improve sales/business – Sematech: $100 B to make microcomputer chips – Sugar Subsidies: $2.4 Million for growers – Electric Utilities Subsidies: $2 Billion to producers – Agricultural Marketing Board: $15 Million year for advertising US agricultural products – Bank Bailouts: $700 Billion – Car Company Bailouts: $25 Billion
Waste and Mismanagement EPA: Environmental Protection Agency spent $263,000 for things like golf, tennis, and therapy for workers who were cleaning up toxic waste dumps Pentagon: spent $263,000 on a Christmas party for contractors building planes for Air Force Congress: kept open 3,802 military bases that the military doesnt want; cost $6.4 billion per year Department of Agriculture: $1 Million in phone jack for which they have no phones and $8 million on computers that have no software Department of Transportation: $585,000 to measure the length of airline attendants noses
How much did the Navy pay for a Hammer? $436! (even though it was list priced at $1) Why? – $93 to test hammer – $102 for manufacturers overhead – $37 for spare parts – $3 shipping costs – $41 to order – $90 administrative costs – $56 finders fee – $7 interest
Pork Barrel Spending Government spending to impact a congressional district or a State A way for a member of Congress to help their State with employment and projects
Pork Barrel Spending Examples Write down 10 in your notes!
PORK! $107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail $4.3 M to build the National Coal Mining Museum $84,000 to study why people fall in love $1 M to study why people dont ride their bikes to work $19 M to study gas emission from cow flatulence $144,000 to see if pigeons follow the human economic laws of supply and demand $219,000 to teach college students to watch TV
More Pork! $500,000 to build a replica of the Pyramid of Giza in Indiana $290,000 to study rudeness on tennis courts and smiling patterns at bowling alleys $18M to build an industrial theme park in Pennsylvania $2 M to build an ancient Hawaiian canoe $6 M to upgrade the Senate subway
Even More Pork! $250,000 to study putting caffeine in chewing gum $1 M to hire Lauren to design Navy uniforms $45 M to build a Coast Guard station in West Virginia $400,000 for a manure management project in Iowa $100,000 for Trees Forever! $631,000 to study alternative salmon products $800,000 to study fire ant reproduction
Even MORE Pork! $250,000 for whirling disease research $205,000 to build a silent movie theater in WVA $4.4 M for a railroad crossing demonstration project for Texas $1 M for a National Walking and Biking Accident Study $250,000 for sweet potato white fly research $200,000 for loco weed research $250,000 to study the rectal temperatures of hibernating bears $1 M to study bathtub accidents in the US
What? More Pork? $250,000 to study schizophrenia in rats $750,000 to study Alaskas grasshopper population $800,000 to build a bathroom on top of Mt. McKinley $100,000 to study how to avoid falling spacecraft $1M to create a national seafood consumer hotline $16,000 to study how to play the komungo, a Korean stringed instrument $1M to preserve the Trenton New Jersey sewer as a historic monument $6,000 for the original recipe for Worcestershire sauce
Earmarks Funds provided by congress for projects, programs, or grants where the Congressman or Senator has circumvented the competitive allocation process or has specified the location or recipient of the grant/project About $44 Billion in projects and grants 2012- 13 budget
Examples of Earmarks $1 B for FutureGen in Illinois $53.6 B for state stabilization fund $1 B for Census Bureau studies $200 Billion for computers for Illinois community colleges $10 M to combat Mexican gunrunners $1B for NASA projects to Mars $375 M for Mississippi River retention $ 3.7 B to make Army bases green $2B to develop better batteries for cars $300 M to buy green cars for federal employees $200 M to design the new Dept of Human Services headquarters in DC $4M to build a Mob Museum in Las Vegas $3.5 M for the National Cannon Ball Museum in Atlanta $2 M for the National Grout Museum in New Jersey ETC……………………………..
How can we get rid of pork and earmarks? Give the President the line-item veto that many Governors have (need amendment) Limit the number of terms that a person may serve in Congress(need amendment) Require that Congress pass a balanced budget (need amendment) Write your member of Congress and let them know what you think Join a public interest group like the National Taxpayers Union LOBBY against this type of waste!
The Texas Legislature The Texas Legislature: Bicameral – Texas House of Representatives – Texas Senate
The Texas House of Representatives How many? 150 Qualifications: – 21 years of age – US citizen – Resident of Texas for 5 years – Resident of District for 5 years Term of Office: 2 years Occupations: mostly insurance reps and lawyers Role/Jobs: – Making law – Budget – Regulating industries (insurance, petrochemical, farming, ranching, etc…) – Represent constituents – Servant of constituents – Politicians – Etc…
Texas Senate How many? 31 Term of office: 4 years Qualifications: – 25 years of age – US citizen – Resident of TX for 7 years – Resident of Senate District 7 years Occupations: most are lawyers and doctors Roles/Jobs: – Make laws – Budget – Regulate industries (medicine, law, construction, oil/gas, etc…) – Represent constituents – Servant of constituents – Etc…
The Law-making Process Basically the same as in the US Congress EXCEPT: – Fewer committees – Fewer steps – No Rules Committee; has Calendars Committee instead – All roll call votes – Governor can line-item veto – Have to worry about sun set legislation!
Differences between the Congress and Texas Legislature CongressTexas Legislature Size535181 PowersMoreLess SessionsYear-round140 days every other year Terms2/62/4 Pay/benefitsFantastic!Poor CommitteesMoreLess PowerMoreLess PrestigeMoreLess
Purpose of the Texas Legislature to make laws for the benefit of the people of the State of Texas
Reapportionment and Redistricting The Texas Constitution requires that seats be reapportioned every 10 years based on the national census The Texas Legislature must redraw district lines based upon population changes every 10 years
Sessions of the Texas Legislature 140 days every 2 years Current session began January 3, 2013 and ended June 3, 2013 Next session will begin January 3, 2015. No session in 2014!
Salary and Benefits of the Texas Legislature Salary: $600 per month or $7,200 per year Per Diem during Sessions: $95 a day for hotel $20,000 per year for office expenses Franking (free postage) Retirement and Social Security (based on State Judges salaries!) Health insurance (just like State employees)
Leadership in Texas Legislature Speaker of the House: Joe Strauss (R-Austin)
Lt Governor of Texas Presides over the Senate David Dewhurst (R-Houston) Elected separately by the people of Texas Most powerful politician in TX
Powers of TX LEG Make laws (just for the State) Tax (no income tax allowed!) Spend (must have a balanced 2 year budget!) Impeach/convict (just like Congress) Confirm Appointments (if there are any!) Regulate intrastate trade (just w/in Texas) Etc…
Your Texas Representative is: Ed Thompson (R-Pearland, TX) State Farm Insurance Salesman Married with 2 children and 4 grandchildren Graduated from U of H with a BBA in MKT
Your Texas Senator is: Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood, TX) Owns insurance agency in Friendswood Graduated from Baylor with BBA in Finance Married with 2 kids