Bicameral government is a system in which two separate bodies of authority, called governments, operate in the same space. These governments share power, decision-making ability, and resources.
In the case of the Texas Legislature, there is a lower chamber and an upper chamber. The lower chamber makes laws and passes them into the upper one to be signed by the governor and state attorney general.
The upper chamber reviews and votes on these laws to make sure they are accurate. If a bill passes in one body but fails in the other, it may be vetoed by the governor to prevent it from becoming law.
This kind of system has its benefits and drawbacks. There are more articles like this one that tell how it affects individuals, businesses, and communities.
Helps identify controversial bills
A bicameral legislature is considered to be very effective at identifying controversial bills, which means they help help identify what will hurt or benefit people in their decision making.
This is important, since some people can be put in an unfavorable position when they support one bill and not another. This can lead to political pressure to go along with the most popular bill instead of the most effective bill.
When there are two legislative bodies, such as the state house and state senate, it is important to find a way to communicate with each other. By having two legislatures, there is still a communication gap when one does not respond to the other.
Using conferencing or phone conferences can help solve this problem.
Reduces the power of the minority party
Bicameral government has been gaining popularity around the world. It reduces the power of the minority party in the legislature and increases the power of the majority party.
In a bicameral system, there is a second house and a upper house. The second house can vote to approve or reject certain proposals put forth by the upper house.
The second house has more limited powers than the upper one. For example, it cannot veto bills that have been approved by the first house. It can only submit amendments to those bills when there is communication between the houses.
But having both houses gives some advantages to parties and individuals. For example, in Ohio, where both chambers are bicameral, members of Congress can run for office in either one without worrying about being outvoted.
Increases the power of the majority party
While the majority party in the Texas legislature has increased in size over the last several years, another important component of the majority party has diminished in size.
The minority party is the minority in terms of power. As a rule, the minority party does not have a lot of power. As a result, members of the minority party are more powerful.
Because they do not have full control of either house, members of the minority party are more active. They can vote their conscience and still be voted into office because of strong support from members of the majority party.
This phenomenon is even more pronounced in a bicameral government than in an unicameral one.
Causes confusion in legislative proceedings
Itão, the indigenous people of the state of North Carolina, call the two upper chambers of their legislature eu-tê, which means upper house.
The lower house is known as a sên-nê-tê, or Castro council. The two houses work together to develop legislation and vote it down or pass it, but they are separate entities.
Because of this, it can be hard for lawmakers to understand how much power each has. A great example was when the sên-nê-tê voted to reallocate funds from transportation to education instead of reducing taxes.
May result in inconsistent policy outcomes
The presence of a second chamber in the Texas Legislature is an addition to the body that was not mandated by law. However, it has been widely accepted as an improvement to the original, single chamber Legislature.
The additional power given to the second chamber is a result of bicameral policymaking. Policymakers look at how much power they have and whether or not it is necessary. If there are noticeable gaps in power, one or both chambers add more authority to fill those holes.
This can go either way, though. In 2013, Governor Perry restored some of the original powers of the two legislative bodies when he signed a budget bill that retained some of the additional powers.
Some argue that the additional power given to either body is unnecessary and/or inappropriate and take away from individual legislators.