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Exam 2
government flashcards
Political Studies
Undergraduate 2

Additional Political Studies Flashcards




Historical background
- 1961: Texas was a colony under Mexico and the king of Spain appointed the then governor of the state.
- 1824: mexico won indepentdence from Spain and Texas became a state under mexico (Coahuila ye Texas)
- 1836: texas gained its independent from Mexico to become the Lone Star Republic (Country)
- 1845: US annexed Texas as a state
Texas as a state under US
- 1845L governor has broad powers to appoint most state executive officials and also to select state judges
Jacksonian Democracy
- 1850: Jacksonian Democracy movement swept through the state
- movement was the belief that the way to expand democracy is by electing state public officials not by governors appt.
- Supporters succeeded in amending the state constitution of 1845 and took appointive powers awar from governor
the amendment provided for...
-election of state judges and other officials
- limited number of executives the governor can appoint.
- introduced plural executive : division of executive governors power among several other elected officials
- introduced long ballot: enable the election of a long lost of public officials created through plural executive.
1861: texas seceded from the union with other southern states
- 1866: tx and other southern states, under reconstruction have to return back to the union and conditions stipulated by Radical republicansin the US congress for re-admission back to the Union are:
ratify 13th, 14th, 15th amendment
ratify new state constitution and elect new governor.
post reconstruction governor republican (EJ Davis)
1869: reconstruction constitution revamped the state governor's broad powers again somiliar to 1845- gave governor power to appoint public officials again.
EJ Davis used this broad power to...
- borrow money to jumpstart destroyed state economy from civil war and texans hated spending deficit.
- register new state voters ( texans disliked this too)
- appoint state oofficials
- introduce legislative annual sessions
- increase legislators salary
- introduce compulsory public ed. with mandated state supervision
- TX now: Conservative democrates. hated R-party bc they helped EJ davis get elected with Black vote
- Texans also hated 1869 Constitution as an imposition on Texans by Yakees
- as a reaction to perceived excesses of EJ Davis, current const. signed in 1876 makes sure future governor will be stripped of power.
Weakening the Gubernatorial powers with the current Constitution (1876)
- since 1876: office is plural executive again
- up until 1972: governor cant fire appointees. but now can subject to 2/3 senate vote
- governor still cannot remove appointess of predecessor
- sec of state: highest ranking governor-appointed state official.
- 2/3 senate vote to confirm governor's appointees as opposed to president's majority vote
- reduced term of office to 2 years then, though now 4 yrs.
Weakening the gubernatorial powers with the current Constitution (1876): from 1965 to present...
- term of office increased to 4 yrs.
- constitutional amendment and legislative actions have added new features to the executive branch
- governor salary is higher now
- long ballot remains
- budgetary authority still remains weak
Formal and Informal Qualifications
-must be american citizen
- resident of TX for 5 yrs preceding election
- 30 years of age
- 4 yrs term of office & no term limit
- can be removed via impeachment
- James Fergusion: only governor to be impeached due to attempt of removing UT faculty members
Growth in Governor's role in policy-making
-even though state const. limits the formal powers, the governor is shaped by:
-governor's personality
- political adroitness
- staff appointments
- ability to defend and sell agenda if his political party controls the state legislature.
policy-making authority has grown because...
- Fed. Grant programs required participation by governor's office
- media have focused public attention of Gov's office.
Powers & responsibilities of the governor
1. legislative powers
2. appointive powers
3. Judcial powers
4. budgetary powers
5. law enforcement powers
6. administrative powers
legislative powers
-gov.'s strongest constitutional power
-enable governor's policy wishes to be communicated to the legislature during the state-of-the-state message at the beginning of the legislative sessions.
legislative powers include...
- emergency measures power that can force legislature to consider gov's measures
- veto power although can be overridden by 2/3 of both chambers but is difficult to override the gov's veto bc:
a) most vetoes occur after the legislature has adjourned.
b) 2/3 vote of each chamber is difficult to come by.
- gov has line-item-veto for influencing appropriations
-gov has power to call special sessions to last 30 days and can be extended
appointive powers
- gov is empowered to staff admin. boars and commissions that set policies for state agencies such as:
PUC, State insurance board, Racing Commissions, Dept. of Public Safety
- power to fill vacancies in elective positions should they occur between elections.
limitations of appointive powers
- appointees must be confirmed by 2/3 senate vote
- most admin. board members serve 6 yrs overlapping terms longer than gov's term and may outlast an elected governor and an incoming governor cant easily remove a predecessor's appointees.
- gov has little power of removal of state agency heads.
- as of 1980: can remove his/her own appointees but not those of his predecessor & still subject to 2/3 approval vote
- appointees must pass political inspection by home area senator
- senatorial courtesy: allows senator to block the confirmation of a gubernatiorial appointee who lives in the senator's district.
judicial powers
- gov's most important power: fill vancancies in district and appeals court until next election bc state judges are elected
- pardon, communication & reprieves are weak bc unless the state board of pardons & paroles that the governor appoints grant recomendations, the gov can grant: repreives, comunication (reduce a sentence), pardon.
In capital Cases involving death penalty
governor can only grant single 30 days repreive independently without recomendation by the board.
Budetary powers
- gov may submit budget proposals to the state legislature but the legislative budget board's proposals carry more weight & LBB is headed by Lt. gov
- gov has line-item-veto power (most powerful budgetary power) to influence appropriations
- line-item veto: allows gov to reject some portions of appropriated bill without rejecting all of the appropriation.
- gov granted limited budget execution authority: allows gov to transfer money between state agencies when the legislature isnt in session
- an agency's appropriation cut cant be more than 10% or increase more than 5 %
- LBB which is chaired by Lt. Gov must accept or reject this fund transfer proposal before the gov can transfer fund.
Law enforcement powers
the governoe is commander in cheif of TX and TX nat'l guard.
Administrative powers
very weak bc of plural executive and because of governor has little power of removal of most state agency heads bc they are elected.
size of plural executive
- currently 7 elected plural executives in the state
- 2 of them, attorney general and railroad commission are constitutionally established
- remaining 5 have been created by the legislature and the governor over the years through legislative process.
Current 7 elected plural executives include...
1. Lt. Gov
2. Attorny General
3. Comptroller of Public accounts
4. Commissioner of Agriculture
5. Commissioner of General Land Office
6. Railroad Commissioner
7. State Board of Ed.
Lt. Governor
- succeeds the governor
- helps determine the order of business in the Senate
- debates issues in the Senate but only votes to break a tie vote
- most powerful state public official
Attorney General
- responsibilities are to act as a lawyer
- gives legal advice to state, local officials & agencies in the form of opinions which are not binding on the courts
- initiates lawsuits against delinquest on child support
- is a civil lawyer and therefore does not prosecute criminals
Comptroller of Public Accounts
- state cheif accounting officer and tax administrator
- audits spending by state agencies
- estimates state revenues for the up-coming two-year budget cycle to certify that the appropriation bills falls within revenue estimates (to prevent deficit spending)
- collect overdue taxes from retail merchants for the state.
Commisioner of Agriculture
-administers and executes all agricultural laws.
- inspects & regulates gasoline pumps, seeds, meat market scales and flower nurseries
-enforces the state weights & measures.
Commissioner of General Land Office.
- manages state 20.3 mill of acres of public land and mineral-rights
-public land is either leased out for mineral exploration & or for agricultural purposes
-revenues raised from land is never spent and are constitutionally set aside
-principal revenues are treated as endownments and are invested in interest yeilding accounts
- on part of endowment is called Permanent Univeristy Fund (PUF)
-interest from teh PUF is used to finance UT, TX, A&M
-other part is called Permanent School Fund (PSF) and interest from PSF is used to finance public schools in the state.
-commissioner also manages Veteran Land Programs
Railroad Comissioner
-state agencies main function is the regulation of oil & gas exploration
-commissioner's regulatory policies fall into 4 broad categories:
1. conservation of oil and gas
2. pro-ration to keep oil prices stable
3. protection of oil & gas producers
4. safeguarding thepublic from oil and gas pollution
-state agencies regluate oil & gas such as:
drilling,pipeline transmission, storage
pro-ration, allowable, well spacing and production quotas by establishing monthly barrels of oil, an oil well could pump per day for that month to keep stable market prices.
- regulates railroads, commercial vehicles, hazardous waste shipments, and enviornmental protection.
State Board of Education
- jointly responsible with local ISD for public schools
- coordinates educational activities & services below the college level
- approves purchases of public school's textbooks and instructional materials.
Appointed Executives
-secretary of state:
- cheif electiion officer
- interpret election laws
- highest ranking official appointed by the governor
Appointed Boards Commissions
-These are TX Bureaucracy
- TX beauracracy is highly fragmented
- over 950,000 people are employed by the state
- these are agencies that run the state bc the state legislature only meets once every 2 years for 140 days
-Ex: University Board of Regents, Occupational Licensing Boards, Public Utility Commission (PUC)
- Most of these postions are unsalaried.
Growing state bureaucracy
- st. bureaucracy is growin rapidy bc of rapid pop growth rate. this creates demand for public services (education, prison, healthcare)
-even though bureaucracy has grown, the state still ranks low in per capita expenditure (#44)
Strategies for controlling state bureaucracy
-power of gov is weak (plural executives)
-legislature has greater influence through: sunset review process but this takes place every 12 years not very effective.
- whistle-blower system was therefor set up to protect and encourage state employees to report wrongdoing within their agencies to their supervisors
- hasnt been watered down since the George Green case.m
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