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Gov Chapters 11 and 23


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A legislator who acts according to her or his conscience and the broad interests of the entire society.
The action by which a legislative committee tables a bill and then ignores it.
Fall Review
The annual process in which the Office of Management and Budget, after receiving formal federal agency requests for funding for the next fiscal year, reviews the requests, makes changes, and submits its recommendations to the president.
Majority Leader of the House
A legislative position held by an important party member in the House of Representatives. The majority leader is selected by the majority party in caucus or conference to foster cohesion among party members and to act as spokesperson for the majority party in the House.
ad hoc committee
A temporary committee.
mark up
In legislation, to amend, change, or rewrite bills while they are in committee.
Direct Primary
An intraparty election in which the voters select the candidates who will run on a party's ticket in the subsequent general election.
Seniority System
A custom followed in both chambers of Congress specifying that the member of the majority party with the longest term of continuous service will be given preference when a committee chairperson (or a holder of some other significant post) is selected.
The allocation of seats in the House of Representatives to each state after each census.
The process by which Congress follows up on laws it has enacted to ensure that they are being enforced and administered in the way Congress intended.
An arrangement in which two or more members of Congress agree in advance to support each other's bills.
Senate Majority Leader
The chief spokesperson of the majority party in the Senate, who directs the legislative program and party strategy.
One of the persons represented by a legislator or other elected or appointed official.
discharge petition
A procedure by which a bill in the House of Representatives may be forced out of a committee (discharged) that has refused to report it for consideration by the House. The discharge petition must be signed by an absolute majority (218) of representatives and is used only on rare occasions.
Twelfth Amendment
An amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1804, that specifies the separate election of the president and vice president by the electoral college.
bicameral legislature
A legislature made up of two chambers, or parts. The U.S. Congress, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, is a bicameral legislature.
ranking minority members
The senior members of the minority party on a legislative committee.
Conference Committee
A special joint committee appointed to reconcile differences when bills pass the two chambers of Congress in different forms.
floor leaders
Legislators who are responsible for getting party members to vote for or against particular legislation.
Conservative Coalition
An alliance of Republicans and southern Democrats that can form in the House or the Senate to oppose liberal legislation and support conservative legislation.
The use of the Senate's tradition of unlimited debate as a delaying tactic to block a bill.
"The Lobby"
Collectively, the most politically and economically powerful special interest groups in Texas.
The function of members of Congress as elected officials representing the views of their constituents.
Minority Leader of the House
The party leader elected by the minority party in the House.
Enumerated Power
A power specifically granted to the national government by the Constitution. The first seventeen clauses of Article I, Section 8, specify most of the enumerated powers of the national government.
Discharge Petition
A procedure by which a bill in the House of Representatives may be forced (discharged) out of a committee that has refused to report it for consideration by the House. The petition must be signed by an absolute majority (218) of representatives and is used only on rare occasions.
A large organization that is structured hierarchically to carry out specific functions.
Senate Minority Leader
The party officer in the Senate who commands the minority party's opposition to the policies of the majority party and directs the legislative program and strategy of his or her party.
Standing Committee
A permanent committee in the House or Senate that considers bills within a certain subject area.
Instructed Delegate
A legislator who is an agent of the voters who elected him or her and who votes according to the views of constituents regardless of personal beliefs.
Joint Committee
A legislative committee composed of members from both chambers of Congress.
Select Committee
A temporary legislative committee established for a limited time period and for a special purpose.
The division of a legislature into two separate assemblies.
Texas Ethics Commission
A constitutionally authorized body that has the power to investigate ethics violations and to penalize violators of Texas ethics laws.
In the Texas Senate, a rule that allows a senator to halt a standing committee's consideration of a bill for forty-eight hours.
President Pro Tempore
The temporary presiding officer of the Senate in the absence of the vice president.
Spring Review
The annual process in which the Office of Management and Budget requires federal agencies to review their programs, activities, and goals and submit their requests for funding for the next fiscal year.
Agenda Setting
Determining which public-policy questions will be debated or considered.
presiding officers
In Texas, the chief officers of the state senate and house. They are the lieutenant governor, who presides over the senate, and the speaker of the house.
A person who hears and investigates complaints by private individuals against public officials or agencies.
committee of the whole
An entire legislative body (such as the Texas Senate) acting as a committee. The committee's purpose is to allow the body to relax its rules and thereby expedite legislation.
An action by which legislative debate is ended so that a floor vote must be taken.
A policy that enables members of Congress to send material through the mail by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for postage.
Safe Seat
A district that returns a legislator with 55 percent of the vote or more.
Calendars Committee
The committee in the Texas House of Representatives that assigns bills to the calendars for floor action. (The less-important Local and Consent Calendars Committee also performs this function.)
The current holder of an office.
A member of Congress who aids the majority or minority leader of the House or the Senate.
point of order
A formal question to the chairperson about the legitimacy of a parliamentary process. A successful point of order can result in the postponement or defeat of legislation.
Legislative Budget Board
The primary budgeting entity for Texas state government.
The process of establishing the legal rules that govern society.
suspension of the rule
Setting aside of the rules of a legislative body so that another set of rules can be used.
A formal declaration by a legislative committee that a certain amount of funding may be available to an agency. Some authorizations terminate in a year; others are renewable automatically without further congressional action.
The drawing of legislative district boundary lines for the purpose of obtaining partisan or factional advantage. A district is said to be gerrymandered when its shape is manipulated by the dominant party in the state legislature to maximize electoral strength at the expense of the minority party.
ex officio
Having a position by virtue of holding a particular office. For example, the lieutenant governor of Texas serves ex officio as the presiding officer of the Texas Senate.
Personal work for constituents by members of Congress.
Fiscal Year (FY)
A twelve-month period that is used for bookkeeping, or accounting, purposes. Usually, the fiscal year does not coincide with the calendar year. For example, the federal government's fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.
Legislative Council
In Texas, a body that provides research support, information, and bill-drafting assistance to legislators.
The redrawing of the boundaries of the congressional districts within each state.
Rules Committee
A standing committee of the House of Representatives that provides special rules under which specific bills can be debated, amended, and considered by the house.
Speaker of the House
The presiding officer in the House of Representatives. The Speaker is always a member of the majority party and is the most powerful and influential member of the House.
In a legislature or similar body, to cease action on a particular measure. A motion to table is not debatable.
Justiciable Question
A question that may be raised and reviewed in court.
Party Identifier
A person who identifies with a political party.
blocking bill
In Texas, a bill placed early on the senate calendar that will never actually be considered. A rule—which can be suspended by a two-thirds vote— requires that the senate address bills in chronological order. The blocking bill ensures that a measure must win the vote of two-thirds of the senate even to be considered.
In political redistricting, placing two incumbent officeholders from the same party in the same district. (Only one of these officeholders can be reelected.)
Executive Budget
The budget prepared and submitted by the president to Congress.

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