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Texas Government (Part 1: Chapter 27) Essential Questions 1.To what extent is the government of Texas a “mirror image” of the US government (including.

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Presentation on theme: "Texas Government (Part 1: Chapter 27) Essential Questions 1.To what extent is the government of Texas a “mirror image” of the US government (including."— Presentation transcript:

1 Texas Government (Part 1: Chapter 27) Essential Questions 1.To what extent is the government of Texas a “mirror image” of the US government (including the Bill of Rights) 2.Do the Texas and US Constitutions successfully keep power in the hands of the people? 3.Are three branches of government better at governing than one? 4.How do political parties shape Texas? 5.Does Texas government help Texas? 6.Is or was the Texas Constitution an effective instrument of government for Texas?

2 Summary Constitutions –The US and each individual state has a Constitution –The Constitutions explains what a government must do, what it may do, and what it cannot do –In US, the national constitution specifies powers of the federal government and leaves all other powers to states or to the people –Each state has a constitution that states how each state government has to be run –But, each state must follow the rules of the Constitution of the US

3 Texas Constitution of st Texas Constitution (Republic of Texas) Important Features –Called for a Bicameral legislature Bicameral Legislature: 2 legislative parts—senate and house of representatives Many parts of this constitution are still in place today –Laws about personal property, land ownership, water rights, and community property Community Property: property that is shared by a married couple

4 Texas Constitution of 1836, con’t Constitution created 3 branches of state government Branches –Legislative: Makes the laws House of Representatives/Senate –Executive: Enforces the laws Governor, Executive Officers, Agencies –Judicial: Interprets the laws Court System Each branch had separate responsibilities…called Separation of Powers

5 Constitutions of 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869 Texas joined US in 1845 –Texans had to write own constitution (1845) Provisions –Property rights for women –Permanent school fund –Protected homesteads…couldn’t be taken away to pay debts »Homestead: a person’s primary residence –Texans had to abide by rules in US Constitution…based on Federalism Federalism: system in which federal government shares power with state governments

6 Constitution of 1876 After Civil War was over and Texas was back in the US, they had to write another constitution They wrote the Constitution of 1876 –Constitution that is still used today

7 Texas Constitutions 2 constitutions control the government of Texas 1.US Constitution (federalism—US Government shares power with state government 2.Texas Constitution –highest law of Texas –Subject only to US Constitution and federal laws

8 The US Constitution A very progressive document: –placed limits on government and guaranteed freedoms for people Why is that important and different than other countries? Has 3 branches of government Leaves all powers that are not assigned to US government to states Good or bad to do this?

9 Texas Constitution of 1876 Philosophy –“best government is the least government” –Texas constitution limits the power of the state legislature and the power of the governor

10 Limited Legislative Sessions Texas legislature can only meet for one session of 140 days every two years –Problem in a large state…things have to wait to next legislative session to change laws, solve problems, etc –Special sessions can be called…only governor can do this –Good part: law makers are limited on how many laws they can pass

11 Election of State Officers Difference between US and Texas Constitution –US President can appoint members of his cabinet, judges, etc –In Texas, all positions are elected …except that governor can appoint people to finish complete an unfinished term…with approval

12 Government Expenses Texas Constitution requires a Balanced Budget (government can’t spend more than it takes in…taxes, etc) –Balanced Budget: plan for spending where expenses equal income Budgets must last for 2 years –Called a biennial budget –State budget is submitted by governor and then sent to a budget committee (governor loses much say-so) –Budgets must be approved by state legislature

13 Government Expenses, con’t US Constitution –President submits budget…either gets passed or president can veto budget…but they really need to agree –US does not have to operate on a balanced budget – US government can borrow money to pay for programs if not enough tax money comes in –The debt is known as a Deficit Deficit: when expenses are more than the amount of money that comes in –Texas government cannot borrow money—no deficit

14 The Bill of Rights Bill of Rights –Bill of Rights: part of US and Texas constitutions that establish individual rights of freedom, press, speech, religion, assembly, etc –1 st 10 Amendments to US Constitution –Original US Constitution did not include a bill of rights –States can include some rights not included in US Constitution –US Constitution: some rights are implied and not specifically stated…hard for Supreme Court to make decisions about

15 Texas Bill of Rights Texas Bill of Rights is more detailed and specific than US Bill of Rights Texas Bill of Rights is Article 1 of the Texas Constitution Very specific wording in Texas Bill of Rights Because of specific wording, Texas constitution has had to be changed many times –See page 572

16 A Question of Equal Rights US Constitution –Original Bill of Rights does not guarantee equal rights for all people Had to add amendments like 13, 14, 15, 19 th Now lawmakers make sure everyone has equal rights Texas Constitution –Originally was same as US but now constitution states: “Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin”

17 Changing the Constitution US Constitution –Amended (changed) only 27 times in over 200 years…uses very general language Texas Constitution –Uses more specific language –Has been amended more than 400 times since 1876 –To change (amend) Texas Constitution Proposal for change must be sent to state legislature Both Texas House of Representatives and Senate must approve the amendment by 2/3 majority Texas voters must approve the new amendment in an election –Very costly, time consuming, and sometimes confusing

18 Changing the Constitution, con’t Why was Texas Constitution written this way? –Writers wanted the Texas people to decide how the Texas government should run –This is known as Popular Sovereignty Popular Sovereignty: rule by the people

19 Texas Government (Part 2 Chapter 28) Essential Questions 1.To what extent is the government of Texas a “mirror image” of the US government (including the Bill of Rights) 2.Do the Texas and US Constitutions successfully keep power in the hands of the people? 3.Are three branches of government better at governing than one? 4.How do political parties shape Texas? 5.Does Texas government help Texas? 6.Is or was the Texas Constitution an effective instrument of government for Texas?

20 Role of Government Texas government has 3 branches –Legislative: makes the laws –Executive: carries out and enforces the laws –Judicial: interprets the laws Handles cases involving –Civil Law: set of laws that deal with disputes between citizens –Criminal Law: set of laws that deal with criminal acts and the punishment They work together for the citizens of Texas

21 The Legislative Branch 2 Houses (Bicameral) –Texas Senate: 31 senators –Texas House of Representatives: 150 members of house Who are our district representatives—Senate and House of Representatives? Will be on test! Voting Districts –Representation for the people –Readjusted every 10 years for population changes Called Redistricting: the process of adjusting legislative districts every 10 years to account for population changes –Based on population Senate areas are larger House of Representatives are smaller

22 The Legislative Branch, con’t Legislature –meets every 2 years for 140 days between January- end of May –Governor may call a special session –Between sessions, legislators work normal jobs…attorneys, etc –Lieutenant Governor is head of Senate –Speaker of the House is head of House of Representatives

23 The Executive Branch Governor –Texas governor is chief executive of state –Elected to a 4-year term –Can be re-elected for a second consecutive term Consecutive Term: following immediately after Lieutenant Governor –2 nd in command –Serves when Governor is absent or can’t perform job

24 The Executive Branch, con’t Directed by a chief who is appointed by governor and serves under governor Secretary of State Labor Commissioner Office of Federal-State Relations Headed by elected officials Attorney General State Comptroller Members of Railroad Commission Agencies –Boards and Commissions: some are appointed by governor & approved by Senate More than 100 in state Set policies for colleges, state hospitals, prisons, use of natural resources, etc

25 The Judicial Branch Court System –Texas Judges are elected by people Supreme Court: every 6 years District, lower court, and Justices of the Peace: every 4 years Municipal Court Judges: often appointed by city councils –Municipal: city or other local government

26 The Judicial Branch, con’t Order of Court Systems 1.Municipal Courts and Justices of the Peace Deal with minor criminal and civil cases…traffic violations, juvenile cases, and misdemeanor criminal cases –Misdemeanor: unlawful act that does not do significant harm and has less sever punishment than felonies Justice of the Peace –Justice of the Peace: local government official who tries minor cases and performs civil marriages

27 The Judicial Branch, con’t Order of Court System, con’t 2.County Courts: handle appeals from lower courts and hear major misdemeanor and civil cases; wills Appeal: a request to have a case heard again before a higher court or judge 3. District Courts: try most felony cases; handle divorces, election appeals, etc Felony: a crime more serious than a misdemeanor 4. Courts of Appeal 5. Texas Supreme Court

28 The State Budget 1 st source of money to state comes from taxes (50%) –Largest tax is sales tax 2 nd source of money: federal funds –Money for highways, money to help poor, et 3 rd source of money: fees charged for licenses, income from state lottery, etc

29 The 254 Counties of Texas Counties created when Texas was a rural state County governments collect state taxes, handle law enforcement, etc Texas has 254 counties…most in the country

30 County Commissioners Every county is divided into precincts –Precinct: a small district formed to handle specific government duties such as voting Each precinct has a county commissioner –Sets tax rate for county and decides on budget –County responsibilities Maintain jails, maintain rural roads, manage voter registration, handle juvenile/adult probation, etc

31 Other County Officials Sheriff: top law officer in county –He/she hires deputies; runs county jail County Attorney –Represents county in misdemeanor cases County Tax Assessor-Collector –Collects money from property, etc –Counties get most of money from property taxes County Treasurer County Clerk –Keeps records of births, deaths, marriages, and is in charge of voter registration County Auditor –Makes sure all money transactions are legal and fair Auditor: a person who examines accounts County Constable –In charge of serving subpoenas –Law officer Constable: a public officer usually responsible for keeping the peace and for minor court duties such as serving subpoenas

32 Special Districts There are more than 2300 special districts in Texas –Work to fill gap between county/city governments Have a specific purpose –Provide water/sewer for rural areas –Provide hospital services –Help with flood control Governed by boards that are appointed or elected

33 School Districts School districts were formed to keep education from becoming too political and to keep them from being ruled by city and county government More than 1050 school districts in Texas School district is run by a board of elected trustees –Trustee: person responsible for the property or affairs of another person or institution –Duties of the trustees: choose superintendent, hire/fire teachers, set school tax rate, buy property, work with state government…such as funding

34 City Governments 80% of Texans live in cities When people of a community want to become a city, they can apply to state to be incorporated –Incorporated: to form into a legal body Then they can elect a mayor, etc and make own laws

35 What Cities Do Cites offer services –Police, fire, medical, sewer, water, etc Help with economic development –Encourage new businesses –Inspect restaurants, grocery stores for health safety Offer special services –Libraries, parks, homeless shelters, etc Make zoning rules Zoning: limiting the possible uses for each piece of property in a city –Determines what type of buildings can be in different parts of a city

36 Types of City Government Texas Constitution lets cities choose own style of government with a few exceptions 1.Home-Rule Cities Home-Rule City: city of more than 5000 people that has the right to self-govern –More than 5000 people –Can choose own style of government as long as it doesn’t go against state constitution

37 Types of City Government, con’t 2. General-Law Cities –General-Law City: city of less than 5000 – people that must obey laws set by state legislature –Less than 5000 people –Texas Constitution is very specific about what they can and cannot do

38 Types of City Government, con’t 3 forms of city government 1. Mayor-Council Citizens elect mayor and city council Some mayor-council governments have a Strong Mayor: has full executive authority –Can control most things without approval Some mayor-council governments have a Weak Mayor: mayor has limited authority; city council is in charge –City council has most control; not mayor –Most cities in Texas use this

39 Types of City Government, con’t 3 types, con’t 2. Council-Manager City council selects city manage to be in charge of policies, laws, overseeing department heads (police, fire, etc) Mayor has very little power 3. Commission Each city council member has own department to be in charge of

40 Funding City Government Most money to cities comes from property and sales tax Some money comes from fees


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