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The Bicameral Congress: Crash Course Government and Politics #2
The Bicameral Congress: Crash Course Government and Politics #2
Published: 2015/01/30
Channel: CrashCourse
State Legislatures and ALEC: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
State Legislatures and ALEC: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Published: 2014/11/03
Channel: LastWeekTonight
The Senate and the House of Representatives Explained (Congress - AP Government Review)
The Senate and the House of Representatives Explained (Congress - AP Government Review)
Published: 2016/05/09
Channel: Tom Richey
Somali-American Refugee Eyes Historic Role in Minnesota State Legislature
Somali-American Refugee Eyes Historic Role in Minnesota State Legislature
Published: 2016/11/05
Channel: VOA News
How is power divided in the United States government? - Belinda Stutzman
How is power divided in the United States government? - Belinda Stutzman
Published: 2013/04/12
Channel: TED-Ed
Congress.gov: Overview of the Legislative Process
Congress.gov: Overview of the Legislative Process
Published: 2013/04/30
Channel: LibraryOfCongress
US Government: The National Legislature
US Government: The National Legislature
Published: 2015/01/08
Channel: Paul Sargent
Shocker! A real Senate debate
Shocker! A real Senate debate
Published: 2011/08/01
Channel: CNNMoney
Somali-American Makes History With Election To State Legislature | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC
Somali-American Makes History With Election To State Legislature | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC
Published: 2016/11/16
Channel: MSNBC
Reality Check: State Legislature Demographics
Reality Check: State Legislature Demographics
Published: 2015/12/12
Channel: WCCO - CBS Minnesota
How a Bill Becomes a Law: Crash Course Government and Politics #9
How a Bill Becomes a Law: Crash Course Government and Politics #9
Published: 2015/03/20
Channel: CrashCourse
RI State Rep calls gun control advocate on his BS, exposes backwards thinking
RI State Rep calls gun control advocate on his BS, exposes backwards thinking
Published: 2017/05/28
Channel: Zobian
Florida Rep. Hastings: Texas is
Florida Rep. Hastings: Texas is 'crazy state'
Published: 2015/02/06
Channel: CNN
House Chamber - SB 4 Am 1: Rep. Wu on US Immigration History - April 26, 2017
House Chamber - SB 4 Am 1: Rep. Wu on US Immigration History - April 26, 2017
Published: 2017/04/26
Channel: Texas Impact
Senator Murphy Questions Betsy DeVos during Education Secretary Hearing
Senator Murphy Questions Betsy DeVos during Education Secretary Hearing
Published: 2017/01/18
Channel: Senator Chris Murphy
Texas Legislation
Texas Legislation
Published: 2007/05/18
Channel: umuhwhat
US Congress Americas Funniest Videos worse than Roman Empire.
US Congress Americas Funniest Videos worse than Roman Empire.
Published: 2009/12/14
Channel: 2setufree
US Elections - How do they work?
US Elections - How do they work?
Published: 2012/10/24
Channel: UK Parliament
Insiders look at Washington State
Insiders look at Washington State's Legislature Race
Published: 2014/11/06
Channel: couvdotcom
Rep. Noel Frame on potential state government shutdown
Rep. Noel Frame on potential state government shutdown
Published: 2017/06/22
Channel: Washington House Democrats
Should Puerto Rico Become A State?
Should Puerto Rico Become A State?
Published: 2015/05/17
Channel: NowThis
Congressional Committees: Crash Course Government and Politics #7
Congressional Committees: Crash Course Government and Politics #7
Published: 2015/03/07
Channel: CrashCourse
US State Ordered to Fund Legislature Into October
US State Ordered to Fund Legislature Into October
Published: 2017/06/27
Channel: Wochit News
Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances: Crash Course Government and Politics #3
Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances: Crash Course Government and Politics #3
Published: 2015/02/07
Channel: CrashCourse
20 + States Declaring Sovereignty Under the 10th Amendment!!! Pennsylvania State Rep Sam Rohrer
20 + States Declaring Sovereignty Under the 10th Amendment!!! Pennsylvania State Rep Sam Rohrer
Published: 2009/02/20
Channel: robpatozz
Background Checks
Background Checks
Published: 2016/09/15
Channel: Jason Kander
Texas State Legislature 101 - US Defenders
Texas State Legislature 101 - US Defenders
Published: 2014/11/26
Channel: Sons Of Liberty Riders MC
Rep. Marcus Riccelli on a potential state government shutdown
Rep. Marcus Riccelli on a potential state government shutdown
Published: 2017/06/22
Channel: Washington House Democrats
FULL SPEECH: President Donald Trump Speech to Joint Session Of Congress 2/28/2017 Trump Live Speech
FULL SPEECH: President Donald Trump Speech to Joint Session Of Congress 2/28/2017 Trump Live Speech
Published: 2017/03/01
Channel: DONALD TRUMP SPEECHES & PRESS CONFERENCE
2016 State of the Union Address: Enhanced
2016 State of the Union Address: Enhanced
Published: 2016/01/13
Channel: The Obama White House
SHE IS A TRAITOR!!! WHAT THIS STATE REP JUST DID TO TRUMP PROVES SHE IS WORKING TO KILL AMERICA!
SHE IS A TRAITOR!!! WHAT THIS STATE REP JUST DID TO TRUMP PROVES SHE IS WORKING TO KILL AMERICA!
Published: 2017/03/30
Channel: The Next News Network
United States of Alec
United States of Alec
Published: 2012/09/28
Channel: Moyers & Company
Special Districts: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Special Districts: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Published: 2016/03/07
Channel: LastWeekTonight
Voting: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Voting: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Published: 2016/02/15
Channel: LastWeekTonight
May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications
May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications
Published: 2015/02/08
Channel: danieldeibler
FULL: Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing On Russian Interference in 2016 Election 3/30/2017
FULL: Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing On Russian Interference in 2016 Election 3/30/2017
Published: 2017/03/30
Channel: DONALD TRUMP SPEECHES & PRESS CONFERENCE
Michael Farris, Convention of States, Arizona Legislature, 2.11.14
Michael Farris, Convention of States, Arizona Legislature, 2.11.14
Published: 2014/02/12
Channel: WesternFreePress
Constitution for the United States of America.
Constitution for the United States of America.
Published: 2012/11/24
Channel: John Adams
Washington DC Statehood: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Washington DC Statehood: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Published: 2015/08/03
Channel: LastWeekTonight
Kids Explain the 3 Levels of Government
Kids Explain the 3 Levels of Government
Published: 2015/09/20
Channel: Mauricio Gonzalez
Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at Banking Committee Hearing
Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at Banking Committee Hearing
Published: 2016/09/20
Channel: Senator Elizabeth Warren
Benjamin Netanyahu Speech to Congress 2015 [FULL] | Today on 3/3/15 | New York Times
Benjamin Netanyahu Speech to Congress 2015 [FULL] | Today on 3/3/15 | New York Times
Published: 2015/03/03
Channel: The New York Times
IITV #11: Supreme Court Rules Against AZ Legislature
IITV #11: Supreme Court Rules Against AZ Legislature
Published: 2015/07/07
Channel: IITV
America first, Czech Republic FIFTY FIRST! (official)
America first, Czech Republic FIFTY FIRST! (official)
Published: 2017/02/07
Channel: Stream.cz International
McCarter Urges PA To Join U.S. Climate Alliance
McCarter Urges PA To Join U.S. Climate Alliance
Published: 2017/06/27
Channel: Pa. House Video
The U.S. Government Explained in 5 Minutes
The U.S. Government Explained in 5 Minutes
Published: 2014/02/10
Channel: Jthunderflash
CAPITOL REPORT: Regaining Control of the State Legislature
CAPITOL REPORT: Regaining Control of the State Legislature
Published: 2016/10/07
Channel: Minnesota Senate Media Services
Address Before a Joint Session of the Tennessee State Legislature in Nashville - 3/15/82
Address Before a Joint Session of the Tennessee State Legislature in Nashville - 3/15/82
Published: 2010/06/22
Channel: ReaganFoundation
Morning Minute: Assembly Approves U.S. Constitutional Convention, Limits Agency Rules
Morning Minute: Assembly Approves U.S. Constitutional Convention, Limits Agency Rules
Published: 2017/06/16
Channel: WisconsinEye
CA State Assembly Votes to Divest from Turkey
CA State Assembly Votes to Divest from Turkey
Published: 2017/06/02
Channel: ANCA - Armenian National Committee of America
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly.

Composition[edit]

Every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers or houses. In each case the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is usually referred to as the upper house. This chamber typically, but not always, has the exclusive power to confirm appointments made by the governor and to try articles of impeachment. (In a few states, a separate Executive Council, composed of members elected from large districts, performs the confirmation function.) Members of the smaller chamber represent more citizens and usually serve for longer terms than members of the larger chamber, generally four years. In 41 states, the larger chamber is called the House of Representatives. Five states designate the larger chamber the Assembly and three states call it the House of Delegates. Members of the larger chamber usually serve for terms of two years. The larger chamber customarily has the exclusive power to initiate taxing legislation and articles of impeachment.

Prior to United States Supreme Court decisions Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr in the 1960s, the basis of representation in most state legislatures was modeled on that of the U.S. Congress: the state senators represented geographical units while members of the larger chamber represented population. In 1964, the United States Supreme Court announced the one man, one vote standard and invalidated state legislative representation based on geography. (The ruling does not affect the U.S. Senate because that chamber's makeup is prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.)

Nebraska[edit]

Nebraska originally had a bicameral legislature like the other states, but the lower house was abolished following a referendum, effective with the 1936 elections. The remaining unicameral (one-chamber) legislature is called the Nebraska Legislature, but its members continue to be called senators.

Duties and influence[edit]

The Iowa State Capitol building, where the Iowa General Assembly convenes

As a legislative branch of government, a legislature generally performs state duties for a state in the same way that the United States Congress performs national duties at the national level. Generally, the same system of checks and balances that exists at the Federal level also exists between the state legislature, the state executive officer (governor) and the state judiciary, though the degree to which this is so varies from one state to the next.

During a legislative session, the legislature considers matters introduced by its members or submitted by the governor. Businesses and other special interest organizations often lobby the legislature to obtain beneficial legislation, defeat unfavorably perceived measures, or influence other legislative action. A legislature also approves the state's operating and capital budgets, which may begin as a legislative proposal or a submission by the governor.

Under the terms of Article V of the U.S. Constitution, state lawmakers retain the power to ratify Constitutional amendments which have been proposed by the Congress and they also retain the ability to apply to the Congress for a national convention to directly propose Constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. Under Article II, state legislatures choose the manner of appointing the state's presidential electors. Formerly, state legislatures appointed the U.S. Senators from their respective states until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913 required the direct election of Senators by the state's voters.

Lawmaking process[edit]

Generally, the legislative bodies and their committees use either Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure or an amended form thereof.[1] During official meetings, a professional parliamentarian is available to ensure that legislation and accompanying discussion proceed as orderly as possible without bias.

Beginnings[edit]

The lawmaking process begins with the introduction of a bill in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Bills may be introduced in either house, sometimes with the exception of bills increasing or decreasing revenue, which must originate in the House of Representatives. The order of business in each house provides a proper time for the introduction of bills.

Bills are usually assigned consecutive numbers, given in the order of their introduction, to facilitate identification. Usually a bill cannot become enacted until it has been read on a certain number of days in each house. Upon introduction, a bill is usually read by its title only, constituting the first reading of the bill. Because a bill is usually read by title only, it is important that the title give the members notice of the subject matter contained in the bill.

Committees[edit]

General information[edit]

As with other legislative bodies throughout the world, U. S. state legislatures operate mainly through committees when considering proposed bills. Thus, committee action is probably the most important phase of the legislative process. Most bills cannot be enacted into law until it has been referred to, acted upon by, and returned from, a standing committee in each house. Reference to committee usually follows the first reading of the bill.

Each committee is set up to consider bills relating to a particular subject.

Standing committees are charged with the important responsibility of examining bills and recommending action to the Senate or House. Often on days when a legislature is not in session, the committees of each house meet and consider the bills that have been referred to them to decide if the assigned bills should be reported for further action.

For most bills, the recommendations of the committee are followed, although either house is free to accept or reject the action of the committee. Bills reported favorably by a committee may be placed on a regular calendar (the agenda of the deliberative body).

Most of the work of the legislature is done by committees. The legislature as a whole relies on its committees to report out only those bills deserving the consideration of the entire house.

Through standing committees, each bill is addressed by a group of members who have special knowledge of its subject. Some members of the legislature have expert knowledge of particular subjects of legislation, and these members are usually placed on committees to take full advantage of this specialized knowledge. For this reason, the legislature often accepts the final recommendations of its standing committees. As has been noted, however, the legislature does not completely abdicate its responsibility for the consideration of pending bills. If the need arises, the members of either house can force a committee to take action on a bill, or they can ignore the committee's recommendations.[citation needed]

Post-committee[edit]

Reports of Committee[edit]

After a committee has completed work on a bill, it reports the bill to the appropriate house during the "reports of committees" in the daily order of business. Reported bills are immediately given a second reading. The houses do not vote on a bill at the time it is reported; however, reported bills are placed on the calendar for the next legislative day. This second reading is made by title only.

The regular calendar is a list of bills that have been favorably reported from committee and are ready for consideration by the membership of the entire house.

Third reading[edit]

Regardless of how a bill is placed on the calendar, once the bill is considered and adopted, this is called the third reading. It is at this third reading of the bill that the entire legislature gives consideration to its passage. At this time, the bill may be studied in detail, debated, amended, and read at length before final passage.

If the majority vote in favor of the bill, it is recorded as passed.

Transmission to second house[edit]

A bill that is passed in one house is transmitted, along with a formal message, to the other house. If the bill is not reported from committee or is not considered by the full house, the bill is defeated.

The house of origin, upon return of its amended bill, may take any one of several courses of action. It may concur in the amendment by the adoption of a motion to that effect; then the bill, having been passed by both houses in identical form, is ready for enrollment. Another possibility is that the house of origin may adopt a motion to non-concur in the amendment, at which point the bill dies. Finally, the house of origin may refuse to accept the amendment but request that a conference committee be appointed. The other house usually agrees to the request, and the presiding officer of each house appoints members to the conference committee.

Conference committees[edit]

A conference committee is often empaneled to discuss the points of difference between the two houses' versions of the same bill, and tries to reach an agreement between them so that the identical bill can be passed by both houses. If an agreement is reached and if both houses adopt the conference committee's report, the bill is passed. If either house refuses to adopt the report of the conference committee, a motion may be made for further conference. If a conference committee is unable to reach an agreement, it may be discharged, and a new conference committee may be appointed. Some highly controversial bills may be referred to several different conference committees. If an agreement is never reached in conference prior to the end of the legislative session, the bill is lost.

When a bill has passed both houses in identical form, it is then ready for transmittal to the Governor.

Presentation to the governor[edit]

Once a bill reaches the governor, he or she may sign it, which completes its enactment into law. From this point, the bill becomes an act, and remains the law of the state unless repealed by legislative action, or overturned by a court decision. If the governor does not approve of the bill, he or she may veto it. In the event of a veto, the governor returns the bill to the house in which it originated, with a message explaining his or her objections and suggesting any amendments (if applicable) which might remove those objections. The bill is then reconsidered, and if a simple majority of the members of both houses agrees to the proposed executive amendments, it is returned to the Governor, as he or she revised it, for his or her signature.

On the other hand, a simple majority of the members of each house can choose to approve a vetoed bill precisely as the Legislature originally passed it, in which case it becomes a law over the governor's veto. This is in contrast to the practice in most states and the federal government, which require a two-thirds majority in both houses to override a governor's veto.

If the Governor fails to return a bill to the legislative house in which it originated within a specified number of days after it was presented to him or her, it becomes a law without their signature.

The bills that reach the Governor less than a specified number of days before the end of the session may be approved by him or her within ten days after adjournment. The bills not approved within that time do not become law. This is known as a "pocket veto". This is the most conclusive form of veto, for the Legislature (having adjourned) has no chance to reconsider the vetoed measure.

Constitutional amendments[edit]

Sometimes what the legislature wishes to accomplish cannot be done simply by the passage of a bill, but rather requires amending the state constitution. Each state has specified steps intended to make it difficult to alter the constitution without the sufficient support of either the legislature, or the people, or both.

Aspects of the career of the state legislator[edit]

In most states, a new state legislature convenes in January of the odd-numbered year after the election of members to the larger chamber. The period during which the legislature remains in session varies. In states where the legislature is considered part-time, a session may last several months; where the legislature is considered full-time, the session may last all year, with periodic breaks for district work.

Currently, there are 7,383 state legislators in the United States. They are usually assisted by staff aides to help prepare and analyze legislation, to review and amend submitted budgets, and to help solve constituents' grievances with the state government.

Many state legislators meet every year at the National Conference of The Council of State Governments (CSG), headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, with offices in Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta and Sacramento, and at the annual meetings of CSG's regions, The Southern Legislative Conference, The Midwestern Legislative Conference, the Eastern Regional Conference and CSG West, and at the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is headquartered in Denver, Colorado and has a lobbying office in Washington, D.C. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization funded by the private sector focusing on state legislatures, also has an annual meeting attracting many legislators.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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