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Texas Politics - The Legislative Branch
 
 
 
Sunset review schedule through 2015 Sunset review schedule through 2015
5.3    Administrative Powers

The legislature's administrative powers take four forms:

  • Ratification of gubernatorial appointments - The Senate must approve most bureaucratic appointments made by the Governor with a minimum of two-thirds of the senators present in favor. This ratification power has an added twist known as senatorial courtesy, which compels the whole Senate to respect the wishes of the senator representing the district in which the appointee resides. If that senator approves of the appointee, then the Senate will approve the appointment. The reverse holds true, enabling a senator to reject an appointment too.

  • Creation, abolition, and redefinition of state agencies - Through general legislation the legislature can create new agencies or abolish existing ones. Less dramatically, the Legislature can mandate new responsibilities and redefine existing responsibilities of state agencies. The Legislature also relies on its Sunset Advisory Commission to make recommendations concerning the continuation of almost all state agencies. (See Sunset Review in the Bureaucracy chapter of Texas Politics.)

  • Requiring regular and special reporting from state agencies - The Legislature can pass general legislation requiring reporting from specific state agencies. Additionally, the Legislative Audit Committee appoints the State Auditor, who provides information regarding the appropriateness of the use of state funds.

  • Budget approval over state agencies - Through biennial appropriations, the Legislature provides funding for the executive branch agencies to perform their functions. Of course, the level of funding the Legislature provides can enable an agency to do more or less than it had hoped. The legislature's own budgeting organization, the Legislative Budget Board, provides lawmakers with information to evaluate government operations for the purposes of setting agency budgets.

Texas Politics:
© 2009, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin
3rd Edition - Revision 115
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