Tx Govt Ch 8 Summary

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1

To reach the floor of the house, a bill must also be placed on a calendar by 1 of the 2 calendar committees. These committees are firmly under the control of the speaker. A bill that does not receive a calendar assignment is probably out of the running.

The senate calendar is an artificial device. The 1st item on the calendar is a “blocking bill” which is never brought to the floor. Actually bringing a bill other than the “blocking bill” 2 the floor requires a vote by 2/3 of the senators to “suspend the rule” and vote on the bill out of its calendar order. Given that 2/3 of the senate must vote in the affirmative even to bring a measure to the floor, most bills that reach the floor r approved.

2

To become an act of the legislature, a bill must pass both chambers with identical language. To iron out any differences, bills r sent 2 a conference committee, a special joint committee with members from both chambers. The presiding officers appoint these committees. Once a conference committee report is accepted by both chambers, the bill is sent 2 the governor.

The governor can sign or refuse 2 sign a bill (n which circumstance it eventually becomes law without the governor’s signature). The governor can also veto a bill. If the bill contains an appropriations clause, the governor can strike it out with an item veto. In theory, the legislature could over-ride a veto, but by the time the veto is issued, the legislature is usually no longer in session.

3

The institutional powers of the presiding officers include control over legislative boards and commissions that man-age the budgeting function of state government (the Legislative Budget Board), the auditing function (the Legislative Audit Committee), and policy research (the Legislative Council).

As the Texas legislature has balanced the state budget, it has asked state employees to share the sacrifice by contributing a larger share of their family health insurance premiums than 44 other states.

4

In the 2011 effort to balance the state budget, the state legislature cut funding to women’s health clinics. Critics of this new policy pointed to Texas’s rank as the 1/3 highest for teen pregnancy rates. The state also ranks among the highest for rates of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and HIV. Texas also ranks toward the top in rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease among women.

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