By constitutional design, the state legislature in Texas meets for only five months every other year. Texas’s part-time legislature was established in the nineteenth century to accommodate the long distances that most lawmakers had to travel to reach the state capital. Well into the twenty-first century, the state’s part-time legislature remains. Why?
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1. Why do Texans think part-time legislators can govern effectively?
2. Why are Texas’s “citizen legislators” considered Jacksonian?
3. Do you think Texas would continue to have a state legislature that meets for five months only every other year if the governor were without the power to call “special sessions”?
4. Does the low level of pay for state legislators in Texas exclude people from entering politics? Who is likely to be excluded?