The Texas Lege & The Texas Lobby

For those of you who don't reside in Texas, consider this your crash course in Texas Government. Our legislature, operates under the "biennial system", convening its regular session beginning at noon on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years. A regular session may not exceed 140 days, but for specific unfinished issues, the Governor has the authority, under the state constitution, to convene the legislature at other times during the biennium. These Special Sessions are limited to a period of 30 days each, during which the legislature is permitted to pass laws only on subjects submitted by the Governor in calling for the session. Our folks aren't up there long enough to do too much damage in any given session.

In short: the Federal Government could learn a lot from this model.

What it appears that Texas has learned from the guys in DC, unfortunately, is the art of the lobby. I came across some interesting facts regarding lobbyists in the 2003 Texas Legislative Session, and the numbers are pretty astounding. There were 1,621 registered lobbyists representing 2,187 interests. Given that there are only 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives and 31 members of the Texas Senate, that figures to roughly 9 lobbyists per legislator. Sound absurd? Check out the dollars. Total lobbyist compensation came out to about $185 million, equaling $1,021,644 per legislator.

Oh, I forgot to add that members of the Texas Legislature, all the way up to the Lieutenant Governor, make $7,200 per year. No that isn't' a typo, that is seven thousand two hundred dollars. They receive per diem and mileage while in session, but $600 per month is the rate of pay.

If money is power folks, if there was ever any doubt, now you know who has the power.


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