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legislature - The Legislature The Legislature • Bicameral...

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Unformatted text preview: The Legislature The Legislature • Bicameral – Senate • 31 members • more prestigious – House of Representatives • 150 members • equal power Amateurism in Texas Legislature • Terms and turnover – senate -- 4 year – house -- 2 year – no term limits • Compensation – House • $7200 plus $125/day for expenses • other sources of income – Senate • $22,000 plus expenses • Limited sessions – meets every 2 years for 140 days in odd years – infrequent sessions result in voluminous pieces of legislation Geographic Districts • Elected from single-member districts – one member per house district – one senator per senate district • Districts – approximately equal population – “one person, one vote” • reapportionment – redraw district lines – Legislature or Legislative Redistricting Board – Redistricting • political careers at stake • affects policy making for next decade • power of ethnic or political minorities neutralized – Gerrymandering • drawing district lines to give candidates from certain parties, ethnic groups or factions political advantage Gerrymandering Techniques – Diffusion • to diffuse a concentrated political or ethnic minority so votes within any one district are neutralized • If minority members still too high to affect elections in several districts – members concentrated in one district – influence felt in only one election – legislative influence minimal – Pairing • redistricts two or more incumbent legislators’ so both are in same district – assures defeat of one incumbent candidate – to punish legislators who opposed legislative leadership • Used to protect the “right kind” of incumbents – those who support legislative leadership – those who support agendas of powerful special interests Qualifications for Membership • Formal qualifications – Senator • U.S. citizen • registered voter • at least 26 years of age • lived in Texas for 5 years • lived in district 1 year – House of Representatives • U.S. citizen • at least 21 years of age • lived in Texas at least 2 years • lived in district 1 year • Informal qualifications – more important than formal – includes political, social, economic criteria – Party and Race • Republican party gained control of Senate since 1996 • Democratic party retained control of House • 2002 -- Republicans gained control of both chambers • not an ideological shift (conservative Democrats) • Minimal party opposition to legislative leadership –...
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