Legis - CHAPTER 6 ORGANIZATION OF THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE...

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CHAPTER 6 ORGANIZATION OF THE  TEXAS LEGISLATURE
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Functions of Legislative Bodies Formal Functions Lawmaking and the Political Agenda Many people are involved in making laws, but the basic prerogative for writing, amending, and passing them belongs to members of the legislature. In the process of lawmaking and appropriating money, legislators help to determine what the state's policies and priorities will be in such areas as education, welfare, and the environment. Reapportionment/Redistricting Every ten years, the legislature must reapportion itself, that is, decide which parts of the state get more members of the legislature and which lose members, and redraw boundary lines, that is, redistrict , for the state senatorial and representative districts and for the Texas congressional districts. In between census reports, the legislature adjusts as needed or as forced to do so by litigation.
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Functions of Legislative Bodies Formal Functions, cont. The Constituent/Amendment Function A body empowered to create or amend a constitution is described as having a constituent function . State legislatures are involved in the ratification of amendments to the national Constitution. Because the state lacks a statewide initiative to propose state constitutional amendments, only the legislature can suggest an amendment to the state constitution. The Judicial Function The judicial function comes into play whenever the House impeaches and the Senate tries a judge or an executive branch official. This function is also exercised when the legislature passes laws dealing with courts and court procedures or the structure of the judiciary.
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Functions of Legislative Bodies Formal Functions, cont. The Electoral Function When necessary, the legislature settles election disputes. Also, the House makes the official declaration of the winner of state executive office elections after election results are tabulated.
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Functions of Legislative Bodies Formal Functions, cont. The Administrative Function The legislature's administrative function, exercised primarily through the process of legislative oversight of administrative agencies, is the responsibility of the standing committees of each house. The legislative oversight function in Texas was strengthened with the passage of the Sunset Act of 1977 and the establishment of the Sunset Advisory Commission. A statute passed in 1981 allows the legislature to review rules and regulations of administrative agencies. The legislative audit of state expenditures is also a part of this function. Legislative oversight is often compromised when the legislative watchdogs become a friendly link between an administrative agency and the larger assembly of legislators.
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