chapter7 - CHAPTER 7 THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS Introduction...

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CHAPTER 7 THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
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Introduction Several factors make the legislative process appear confusing to the layperson. Complex rules are a basic part of the legislative process. The legislative process consists of several stages. The issues faced by legislators are growing in complexity. Through the presiding officers’ control of the flow of legislation in Texas, their power over public policy is tremendous. Many participants who are not legislators are also involved in making legislative policy.
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Powers of the Presiding Officers Procedural Powers Committee Membership The presiding officers (the lieutenant governor in the Senate and the speaker in the House) effectively determine the composition of legislative committees even though seniority does play a role in selecting committee members. Special interest representatives and legislators may also be involved in the bargaining that determines who will fill committee slots. The governor, subject to approval by the legislature, may make appointments to special interim study committees. The power of the speaker is illustrated by Speaker Craddick’s action to eliminate the seniority appointments from the Appropriations Committee to ensure that its make- up would reflect his conservative ideology.
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Powers of the Presiding Officers Procedural Powers, cont. Conference Committees Because major bills seldom pass both houses in identical form, conference committees must be formed to resolve the differences. Five members from each house are appointed to conference committees by their respective presiding officers. At least three members of the conference committee from each chamber must agree to accept the conference committee's report before it can be reported back to the House and Senate. Because each chamber must either accept without change or reject the conference report, members of conference committees are very important in the legislative process. Representatives of special interests often become involved in conference committee deliberations.
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Powers of the Presiding Officers Procedural Powers, cont. Committee Chairpersons Because standing committees control legislation and their chairpersons control the committees, the selection of chairpersons is of great importance and is a matter of great interest to lobbyists. Through the appointment of chairpersons, the presiding officers control legislation. Seniority is relatively unimportant in determining chairmanships. Speaker Lewis increased his control of standing committees by creating on each committee the position of chairperson for budget and oversight, another position appointed by the speaker. Democrats and Republicans increasingly share power in the
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chapter7 - CHAPTER 7 THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS Introduction...

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