Politics: activities and affairs involved in the management pf a state or a government. What is Texas politics? According to the definition of the word politics, Texas politics can be described as activities involved in managing Texas. Legislation being a very crucial part of the states affairs, plays a crucial role in politics and governance in any state. Legislation is mainly influenced by the state parties representatives in the senate; that is the Republicans and Democrats. Apart from the senate representatives, other group of individuals play a crucial law in the process.
In order to understand politics and governance in Texas, I sought out to look at the legislative procedure. This involved understanding the steps involved in the law making law making. It also involved looking at the individuals involved in the legislation procedure and their roles in the process. To do this, I looked into the Texas abortion bill in 2013 (Senate Bill 52), which arouse quite a controversy in the state during its legislative procedure, at the senate level as a case study.
A new bill reaches the senate when amendments are engrossed into text of Bill. It is then read for the first time and the Lt. Governor refers it to a committee, which studied the bill, posts a notice of hearing, and holds public hearing resulting in favourable or unfavourable report. Favourable report results in amendment or no amendment, and the bill is printed, distributed and brought up for consideration by 2/3 vote of the senate. This is where the senate representatives coming in deciding whether the bill becomes a law or not. The bill then undergoes a second and a third reading and if there are still controversies, a 30 days special session is created for it. This is the case as in the abortion bill In Texas proposed by the Republicans. The Democrats who strongly opposed the bill aimed at making sure that the bill did not reach Governor Rick Perry.
In the senate we see different tactics used by the senate representative to either pass a bill or to make sure it does not pass. Some of the tactics used include nuclear option and filibuster. Nuclear option refers to a parliamentary procedure that allow the senate to override a ruler or precedent by the majority. The senate rule or precedent is made a constitutional matter by the senate presiding officer and decided by majority vote. Filibuster on the other hand, is dilatory technique used to delay or obstruct business or annoy the deliberative assembly. It mainly focuses on preventing a bill from being brought to vote. In the Texas abortion bill special session, Democrat Senator Wendy Davis used the tactic to prevent the bill from being brought to vote. The Democrat side was supposed to delay the vote for about 13 hours. Sen. Wendy Davis started her filibuster at 11:18 am, and talked for 10 hours 45 minutes till 10:03 pm when procedural motion brought by Republicans forced her to stop.
Apart from the senate members, activists also play a crucial role in politics and legislation. They give the senate a public opinion about the bill. An example is 350 protestor that were present during the Texas abortion bill. Activists from different groups such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choices and local chapters such as Occupy movement, worked together to organize protests against Senate Bill 5. Both the international and local movements merged to goad a crowd at Texas Capitol; a crowd that reached to a level of disobedience not seen in Texas for decades. This is indicative that the activist have a say in the legislative process, reason being that they represent the peoples opinion.
After the third reading, if the bill is amended, it is passed to the house which approves the amendments or disapproves them. The bill is then enrolled and signed by the lieutenant governor and sent to the governor for approval. Sen. Wendy Davis aim was to prevent the bill from reaching the Governor Perry for approval, hence the use of filibuster. The senator has the ability of accepting the bill once it reaches the house level.
The legislative process demonstrate Texas governance, as it is laws that govern a state and her individual. It should be prioritized as it is the key to better governance in Texas.
Houston Chronicle,. 'Abbott Appeals Abortion Ruling'. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 June 2015.
LegiScan,. 'Texas HB2 | 2013 | 83Rd Legislature 2Nd Special Session'. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 June 2015.
Statesman,. 'Decision Day For Perry'. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 June 2015.
Tribune, The. 'The Texas Tribune'. The Texas Tribune. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 June 2015.
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