AUSTIN (KXAN) - Below are also helpful links and the answers to some frequently asked questions about the legislative process in Texas:
How often does the Legislature meet?
Regular legislative sessions start of the first second Tuesday of January in odd-numbered years. They last exactly 20 weeks, or 140 days. The governor may call lawmakers into special session any time he feels it's necessary.
Who may introduce a bill?
According to the Texas Legislative Council, "a bill may be introduced by any member of the Legislature in the member's own chamber, and the steps in a bill's progress in each chamber are basically the same. A bill passed by one chamber must proceed to the other for passage before going to the governor for approval or veto."
What does it take to pass a bill into law?
Bills are assigned to committees, and the chairmen of each committee in both the House and the Senate set hearings and schedule votes. A committee must vote to advance a bill to the floor. Other committees or the leader of the chambers then decide when, if ever, to schedule floor votes. Assuming both chambers pass identical versions of the same bill, it goes to the governor. The governor may sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without signing it, or veto it. A veto kills a bill unless two-thirds of the members of both hoses vote to override the veto.
Who presides over the houses of the Legislature?
The Speaker of House presides over the House. The House chooses a speaker at the beginning of each session. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate. The lieutenant governor is elected by the people to a four-year term.
Are lawmakers paid?
Yes, they earn $7,200 a year. Texas considers members of the Legislature essentially to be part-time workers.
Why does it seem lawmakers wait until the last minute to do all the work?
The Texas Constitution limits the time the chambers can vote on bills. That means few pieces of substantial legislation are considered during the first 60 days of a legislative session.
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