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○Interest groups play an important role in elections and the legislative process in Texas
●An Interest group is an organization established to influence government policies and programs●Interest groups assume a variety of forms and can be setup to serve small or large numbers○Reforming school policy; school vouchers○Interest in common such as in workers’ unions●Resources and Strategies of Interest Groups○Member - numbers matter○Money - access to deep pockets○Information - first drafts of legislation often come from interest groups○Credibility - the information provided must be good information○These resources are the foundation upon which strategies are developed to promote an interest group’s concerns●Interest Groups and Democratic Politics○The right to associate is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution○Collective action lies at the heart of interest-groups politics○The Free Rider Problem, an incentive to benefit from others’ work without making a contribution, prevents some interests from forming effective organizations○The larger common interest the more difficult to overcome the free rider problem●Interest Groups and Democratic Politics continued○Interest groups employ various strategies to overcome free riders■Selective and symbolic benefits to joining○Some interests are not represented well■Lower-class minority interest○Business-oriented interest groups dominate○The 8F crowd●Interest Groups and Policy Makers○Interest groups want policies to their benefit ○Policy makers benefit from interest groups○Interest groups have time,money, expertise, and continuity advantages over individuals○Well-funded interest groups have an advantage in affecting the policy process Campaign contributions can be combined by Bundling them to increase their impact●Types of Interest Groups and Lobbyists○Interest groups strive to influence public opinions, take their views to policy makers, and support those policy makers that are friendly to their causes○Interest groups use lobbyists to reach these goals
○Lobbyists must be able to reach and communicate with policy makers●Types of Interest Groups and Lobbyists○Interests groups may be single-issues; other may be concerned with multiple issues that affect the group○They may represent professional groups such as the Texas medical Association○Public-employee interest groups include public school teachers○Civil rights groups such as the NAACP and LULAC have notable success through litigation●Getting Access to Policy Makers○In a “revolving door” fashion, former legislators are often employed as lobbyists■They can use friendships and experience to gain access○Former lobbyists may also become legislators○Once lobbyists have access, they provide information that may be useful, may write bills to be introduced to arrange testimony●Another Side to Lobbying○Lobbyists In Texas represent mostly business interests but also promote political interests of elected officials ○Though Political action committees (PACs)