150 House Members representing approx. 113,000 population 31 Senate Members representing approx. 550,000 population Legislature meets for 140 days every other year (odd years) 1 st day both chambers adopt rules and House elects Speaker
Speaker appoints the House Committees (38 standing committees) Each Member serves on 2 or 3 Lt. Governor appoints the Senate Committees (18 standing committees) Each Member serves on 3 or 4
How a Bill becomes Law On Floor 1 st reading (caption only) Speaker assigns to Committee Bill Introduced Any bill in 1 st 60 days of session, after 60 days requires 4/5 majority to bring to floor New Bill Idea Draft Bill (Legislative Council)
No action Taken (Bill Dies ) Bill Reported Out (Passed) Text of Bill as Amended Committee’s Vote Detailed Bill Analysis Fiscal Note Possible Impact Statement Committee Hearing Hearing must be posted at least 5 days in advance
Calendars Committee 2 nd Reading (Caption) Debate and possible amendments Vote 3 rd Reading (Caption) Debate and possible amendment (Requires 2/3) Vote Engrossed (includes all amendments and changes) Sent to the Senate
If Senate passes with no amendments then sent to Governor If Senate passes with amendments then returned to the House
If returned to the House If House agrees to the amendments bill is sent to Governor If do not agree with amendments then request Conference Committee
Conference Committee Speaker and Lt. Governor each name 5 to the Conference Committee Committee meets to only reconcile the differences Report must be approved by at least 3 conferee from each chamber Report (compromise) from Conference Committee goes to both chambers There is debate but no amendments are allowed Pass or Fail vote If passed by both Chambers then sent to Governor
Governor Governor has 10 days to: – Sign bill – Allow bill to become law without signature (at the end of the 10 days) – Veto bill 2/3 vote in each Chamber to override a veto If Governor receives a bill less than 10 days before the end of the legislative session then he has 20 days from the end of the session to: – Sign – Allow to become law without signature – Veto Cannot override veto since not in session
Senate has different rules Committee hearings required to be posted at least 24 hours in advance There is no calendars committee – Local and Non-controversial bills are scheduled by the Senate Administration Committee – Other bills are placed on the Regular Order of Business in the order they are received The 1 st bill introduced is a blocker bill so every other introduced bill waits behind it To be heard the author must file a notice of intent to waive the regular order to hear the bill. It requires a 2/3 vote.
Senate has different rules After the 2 nd reading the Senate often suspends the Constitutional requirement to have the 3 rd reading on another day and takes up the 3 rd reading right away This requires a 4/5 vote The House rarely suspends the Constitutional requirement for the 3 rd reading on a different day
How do I have an influence on the legislative process?
Make a Difference Be Knowledgeable Be a source of information on bills or issues Legislators rely on accurate and balanced information – Information comes from many sources – Some is only one side of story – Be a trusted source If you mislead then you have burned the bridge
Make a Difference Today it is on the internet – www.texas.gov – Texas Legislature www.texas.gov – www.capitol.state.tx.us www.capitol.state.tx.us Links for House and Senate – Committees – Committee Schedules – Bills to be considered Bill Searches – Text – Amendments – Engrossed – Fiscal Notes – Bill Status
Make a Difference Show up when needed – Face to face meetings carry weight – Face to face means discussion to clarify – Committees allow anyone to testify – Sign up by Kiosk or on-line – Can be for or against » If against remember courtesy to bill’s author – Can register position without testimony
Make a Difference Relationships – With your legislators – With their staff – With other legislators – With other influential persons