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Legislatures & Public Policy. Questions How good are legislatures in representing public interests? How good are legislatures at acquiring and using information?

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Presentation on theme: "Legislatures & Public Policy. Questions How good are legislatures in representing public interests? How good are legislatures at acquiring and using information?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Legislatures & Public Policy

2 Questions How good are legislatures in representing public interests? How good are legislatures at acquiring and using information? How good are legislatures at conflict resolution among (a) claimants and (b) members in taking collective policy making action?

3 Role of Legislatures in Policymaking policy entrepreneurs policy support via money allocation/distribution policy investigation & oversight

4 Structure of US Legislative Bodies Bicameral with different forms of representation & terms Geographic/Winner-take-all representation –not proportional representation Standing Committees & Subcommittees with core Areas of Responsibility –HouseHouse –SenateSenate Party Control –Leadership power

5 Sources of the Legislative Agenda recurring matters –amendments, reauthorizations, adjustments, spending bills) chief executive – President/Governor –jaw-boning, bully pulpit –direct submission through friendly legislators public pressure Events/crises Issue Networks

6 State Legislatures

7 Legislators’ Salaries 2000 Top Five/Bottom Five

8 Professionalism in State Legislatures

9 Occupations of State Legislators 1993

10 Massachusetts House Committees Rules Ways & Means Bills in the 3 rd Reading Ethics Personnel & Admin Post Audit & Oversight Counties Science & Technology Long-Term Debt & Capital Expend. Steering, Policy, & Scheduling

11 Massachussetts Senate Committees Rules Ways & Means Bills in 3 rd Reading Ethics Post Audit & Oversight Administration Steering & Policy Science & Technology

12 Massachusetts Joint Committees (selected) Banks & Banking Commerce & Labor Criminal Justice Education, Arts, & Humanities Energy Health Care Government Regulations Housing & Urban Development Local Affairs Natural Resources & Agriculture Public Safety State Administration Taxation

13 How Laws Are Made

14 Subcommittee Setting

15 The Legislative Maze

16 Final Steps

17 Implications

18 Implications for Policy-Making Widely dispersed power within and between legislative houses bargaining & compromise Legislators must balance geographic (electoral) constituency against interest (issue) constituency in policy making –Public “rational ignorance” gives legislators considerable discretion in meeting special interest claims "Haves" favored over have-nots –Middleclass favored over Lowerclass

19 Implications for Policy-Making Organized favored over unorganized Low risk-taking/incremental policies Legislature delegates authority to bureaucracy to solve problems Honest & Complete Deliberation is Difficult


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