This assignment asks you to provide a profile of one (1) current Texas state representative (House member) and one (1) current Texas state senator (Senate member). Go to the Texas Legislature websit

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This assignment asks you to provide a profile of one (1) current Texas state representative (House member) and one (1) current Texas state senator (Senate member).

  1. Go to the Texas Legislature website:

    . Select one (1) current Texas state representative and one (1) current Texas state senator (do not select members of the U.S. Congress).  Your selections cannot be from your home district.  Once you decide which state representative and state senator to profile, you will probably need to visit his/her own website to get all the necessary information. Write one or more paragraph(s) for each selected member of the legislature. Please use correct English with proper punctuation.
  2. For each state representative and state senator, give five (5) pieces of information:

    1. date first elected to office,
    2. date last elected to office,
    3. political party,
    4. highest level of education, and
    5. professional experience (occupation/work).

Note: If you are from another state and prefer to profile a state representative and state senator from your own state, you may do so. Visit your own state legislature’s website for the necessary information.

View the rubric for this assignment:

PLSC 2306 Assignment 2 RUBRIC.pdf

This assignment asks you to provide a profile of one (1) current Texas state representative (House member) and one (1) current Texas state senator (Senate member). Go to the Texas Legislature websit
State Legislatures H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), American satirist, called state legislatures “barnyard governments.” Members were generally from rural areas and spent only the brief winter months actually making law.  Since Mencken wrote, state legislatures have become more professional. State legislatures deal with issues under their reserved powers granted by the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Legislators in a representative democracy speak for us and make laws.  And, we can vote them out if they do not serve us.  They are the primary constitutional policymakers for the states. Factors affecting people’s voting for legislators include: partisanship and ideology, social group membership, and attitudes on specific issues. People also tend to reelect the same people. Incumbents, legislators already in office, are reelected about 90 percent of the time because they have name recognition, more money, and more experience in campaigning. Many incumbents run unopposed or against weak challengers. In the U.S. Congress, each state has two Senators but, in the U.S. House of Representatives, the number of representatives a state has depends on its population.  For the U.S. House and for state legislatures, the state and its population are divided into districts; this is apportionment. Reapportionment and redistricting of the U.S. House and state legislative districts occurs every ten years after each U.S. census.  State legislatures, according to the U.S. Constitution, must draw both district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislature. In the states, both state senate districts and state house districts must have equal numbers of people in each. Malapportionment is the drawing of districts unequal in population size. State legislatures were once dominated by rural areas.  At one time Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee districts allowed less than 30 percent of the population to elect the majority of legislators.  Voting districts were drawn bolster representation of rural areas.  As cities grew, the legislatures, dominated by rural legislators, refused to redraw the lines to reflect shifting populations.  Urban area concerns were ignored. In Colegrove v. Green (1946), the Cook County (Chicago) district had 914,000 people while a southern Illinois county had only 112,000 people.  The southern county had almost 9 times the political voice that Cook County did.  The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene. The Supreme Court dealt with this issue again in Baker v. Carr (1962), a Tennessee case.  This time, the Supreme Court said that redistricting questions could be taken to court. Wesberry v. Sanders (1964), two years later, ruled that state legislatures must draw U.S. House districts so that the population was equal in each district.  In Reynolds v. Sims (1964), the Court decided decided that state legislative districts had to be equal in size. This principle applies to both state houses and state senates. Gerrymandering is also a concern in how state legislatures draw districts.  Gerrymandering is the drawing of districts so that certain groups have less representation.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that gerrymandering to discriminate against minorities is unconstitutional (Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 1960).  However, gerrymandering on the basis of political party is generally constitutional. Characteristics of legislators:  Legislators are better educated and have higher-incomes than the people in their districts.  Most are white and male. Most are from occupations, like law or business that allow contact with the public, reward political influence, and allow taking time off.  Most state legislators are part-time amateurs (citizen legislators) and do not depend on their salary for their income. WHAT DO STATE LEGISLATORS DO? Lawmaking: Legislators introduce thousands of bills (the average legislative session considers over 4,000) but few of these bills pass (about 1,000). Representation: Legislators represent the interests of their constituents in the district. Constituency service: Legislators perform constituency work (casework). They help individuals in their district with issues and problems. Oversight: Legislators supervise the carrying out of laws. In 1976 Colorado passed a sunset law in which all programs and agencies are periodically reviewed by the legislature and disbanded/changed if the legislative purpose was not met.  Other states have passed similar laws. In legislatures, committees do most of the work: Standing committees are “permanent” and where most legislative work is done. Standing committees in the Texas legislature are fairly typical: e.g., agriculture, criminal justice, energy, human services, etc. Special or select committees may be created for specific issues. The most important type of special or select committees is a conference committee, made up of members from both houses.  It resolves differences when the house and senate pass non-identical bills on the same topic. The legislative process is a “legislative obstacle course.” (see Figure 7-1). There are many points at which an idea can be defeated.  Bills are first introduced by a legislator; bills are then assigned to standing committees, which may hold hearings, amend bills, or take no action at all. If the bill passes the committee, it moves to the entire chamber for debate, adding any amendments, and a vote. If passed by the entire chamber, the bill then moves to the other chamber (similar bills may be introduced in both chambers at the same time). If both chambers pass the bill, but in different forms, then a conference committee is formed to resolve differences between. The conference report is then voted on by both chambers. If passed, the bill goes to the governor to be signed into law (or to be vetoed). Legislative professionalism:  State legislatures vary in their professionalism. Generally, more professional legislatures are those with lengthy, annual sessions, high pay, large staffs and research and information resources. Less professional, amateur legislatures are those that lack some or all of these. The Texas legislature is one of seven state legislatures that only meet every other year, for 140 days (or biennially). Members earn less than $10, 000 per session, plus up to about $21,000 in expenses. In Texas, legislators are part-time. California legislators make much more money, and they are full-time.  The Texas legislature does have fairly large staffs and research assistance.  So the Texas legislature can be described as a “hybrid” legislature that has some aspects of legislative professionalism but lacks others. Legislative Structure:  All states except Nebraska have bicameral legislatures (two houses). Size ranges from 40 to 400 in lower chambers; about 100 members is typical. States senates are smaller; usually around 50 members. Texas has 150 house members and 31 senators. Members are elected for 2-year terms in the House and 4-year terms in the Senate. Leadership:  The speaker is the presiding officer of the house in all states, including Texas, and is always a member of the majority party. In Texas the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives has the constitutional powers of maintaining order during debate by the entire House, recognizing legislators wanting to speak, and ruling on procedural questions; also the Speaker must sign all bills and joint resolutions. House Rules also allow the Speaker to assign bills to committees and make committee appointments. In most states, the lieutenant governor is primarily a ceremonial post. In other states, notably Texas, the Lieutenant Governor is the presiding officer of the Senate who has powers similar to those of the Speaker. Committee chairpersons are almost always members of the majority party; in some states, including Texas, members of the minority party may chair committees. Terms and Ideas Incumbent / incumbency factor                                Reapportionment / redistricting            Apportionment / malapportionmentBaker v. Carr (1962) / Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) / Reynolds v. Sims (1964)GerrymanderingGomillion v. Lightfoot (1960)Committees: standing, special (select), conference Legislative obstacle course-bill passageSunset lawsLawmaking Representation Constituency service (casework) Oversight Legislative professionalism
This assignment asks you to provide a profile of one (1) current Texas state representative (House member) and one (1) current Texas state senator (Senate member). Go to the Texas Legislature websit
The Governor’s Office State legislatures have created “weak” governors without a lot of legal influence.  Specific state constitutional provisions specify the governor’s role, appointment and removal of other state officials, rules for succession, control over legislation, and staff. Nevertheless, governors can have strong informal powers like appealing to the public directly, and governorships are good ways to aim for the Presidency (e.g., Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush). Governors generally focus on domestic issues while the President is more internationally focused.  Like Presidents, governors are the chief executive officers of the state in that they: head up the executive branch of government, the bureaucracy are responsible for implementing the laws and are the ceremonial, or symbolic, leaders of their states. Governors’ Characteristics SES background:  well-educated, middle class or wealthier, mostly male.SEX: historically, there have been few women governors; there are currently nine. MINORITIES: the current examples are Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-NM, and David Ige, D-HI. EXPERIENCE:  Most come up through other state offices like the legislature. INCUMBENCY FACTOR:  governors are reelected 80 percent of the time although factors like party competition, taxes, scandals, incompetence can defeat an incumbent. Formal qualifications to be governor:  There are few formal qualifications beyond age; exact qualifications vary by state. Most governors now serve four-year terms (Virginia: single term; Vermont and New Hampshire have two year terms w/o restrictions for running again).  Thirty-seven states set limits of two four-year terms. The Texas governor has four-year terms w/ no restrictions on reelection. Governor’s roles Chief Legislator: legislatures are slow and deliberative while the governor can act more swiftly.  The governor often informally sets the legislative agenda.  All governors but the North Carolina governor have veto power. Head of State Agencies: makes sure laws are carried out; implements policies; oversees bureaucracy. Chief Spokesperson for the State: represents the state to the public, to other states, and to the national government. Political Party Chief: the governor’s agenda is the de facto party platform but the governor often has limited say in how other people get to local and state offices. And, in divided control governments (the legislature majority is that of the other party) governors face even greater challenges accomplishing agendas. Commander in Chief of the National Guard. The guard is a state military agency. However, the U.S. President can take control of the National Guard when necessary. Formal Gubernatorial Powers As stated above, governors’ formal powers are generally weak.  Why? 1. Fear of executive led legislatures to keep the position weak2. In the President Jackson era (1828) the idea of separately elected state officials and therefore less control for governors was promoted3. The Political Reform movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century established merit systems, civil service boards, and boards or commissions that take power of controlling who holds many state positions away from the governor4. The plural executive concept:  major statewide agencies officials are separately elected and have constitutional and legal powers so they are not beholden to the governor.  The President, on the other hand, has considerable powers of appointment and removal. How much power a governor has can be examined by looking at: appointment powers, fiscal and budgetary powers, the power to issue executive orders, (limited) military powers, the power to issue pardons, and legislative powers.  We can also look at the governor’s veto powers, especially the line-item veto that allows a governor to veto a part of a bill that s/he does not approve of.  Even the President of the United States does not have line-item veto power. Tenure in office, or the ability to succeed oneself in office, is one way to measure a governor’s powers.  In many states the governor is limited by the state constitution to two terms. In addition, governors’ powers have been strengthened in most states by extending terms from 2-year terms to 4 years (the longer an individual is in office the more influence that person will have). In Texas the term is 4 years long and the governor can be reelected. To run, an individual must be 30 years old, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of Texas at least 5 years prior to election. Appointment powers: some state governors have the power to appoint more officials in the executive branch. However, in many states, including Texas, many executive branch officials are elected separately. In Texas, the Lieutenant Governor (primarily a legislative office), the Attorney General, Land Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, and Comptroller are all separately elected. This means that they are not dependent on the governor for their position, and they are not always likely to follow directions (or wishes). In addition, the members of the Railroad Commission (oil and gas), and state Board of Education are elected. So the appointment powers of the Texas governor are weak. The term for this is “plural executive,” in which the governor shares executive power with others who have their own constitutional and legal powers. In some states, the state senate must confirm any appointments governor is allowed to make. * State commissions and boards whose members’ terms don’t necessarily overlap with those of the governor (even though the governor may initially appoint them) also weaken the formal powers of the governor. *In contrast with appointment powers, removal powers of executive branch officials are limited.  Generally governors must provide justified reasons (in court if necessary).  Fiscal and budgetary powers:   in most states, the governor drafts the initial budget. Even though the legislature may alter the budget through legislation, the governor’s budget usually forms the basis for the state budget. However, much of the budget is largely outside the governor’s control. The reasons for this:  “earmarks,” constitutional and legal provisions requiring that monies raised in certain ways be used for only certain things weakens gubernatorial control and “uncontrollables,” or multiyear programs that demand expenditures, further limit governors.  Usually, governors (and legislatures) have more than one half of their budget funds already allocated. Also budget making is often incremental (changes are miniscule or very gradual over time, made across the board, and very political).  In incrementalism each “actor” plays a role:  agencies ask for more, but not too much; legislators support individual requests for items that would help them get reelected, and professional budget staffs cut.   Governors by themselves generally cannot make major changes.  Most states must have a balanced budget. In Texas, the governor has minimal budget authority. Instead the Legislative Budget Board has primary responsibility for the budget. Executive orders:  all governors have authority to issue executive orders, often in order to implement laws or to deal with emergencies. Military powers: governors have the authority to call out the National Guard in emergencies. But the National Guard is ultimately under the control of the President. Pardon powers:  governors generally have the power to pardon those convicted of crimes. In Texas, the governor is relatively weak in this regard. The governor can only delay executions by 30 days; he/she must rely on the pardon and parole board to make recommendations (the governor does appoint members to the board). Legislative and veto powers: governors may propose legislation by sending messages to the legislature, and by making speeches to build public support. All governors have veto powers; many have the line-item veto. The Texas governor has the veto, including the line item veto, a power the President does not have. In practice, governors’ vetoes are almost never overridden, given constitutional requirements for extraordinary legislative majorities to override vetoes. Special session powers:  Governors can call special sessions of the legislature after the regular session is over. Governors in 1/3 of the states can also specify exact matters for the special session.  Special sessions can be beneficial to governors in that:  legislators are eager to get back home after the regular session so governor proposals are easier to pass; governors make legislature consideration harder by delaying detailed information until the last moment; the governor can make his/her position public to put legislators on the spot.  Problems of special sessions for governors:  governor prestige on the line; extra meetings of the legislature cost taxpayer dollars; may build up resentment if used too often. Problems of vacancy and succession Generally, the lieutenant governor takes over if the governor cannot continue; or in the case of eight states without lieutenant governor, the presiding officer in the Senate or Speaker of the House takes over. In addition, the governor may be impeached states (except Oregon, which requires a recall election).  Twelve states allow the option of recall elections to the impeachment process where charges are brought in the state house and trial is carried out in the senate. Informal powers Important informal powers include public (popular) support, party support in the legislature, and the ability to communicate effectively with the public and other state and national leaders. What formal powers should governors have? There have been arguments to strengthen the formal powers of governor; the argument is based upon the same arguments as those for CEO’s of other organizations=accountability and transparency.  Some proposals are: Eliminate the plural executive and allow the governor to appoint top state positions, including lieutenant governor who could become a running mate as in the case of the President and Vice President Increase appointment/removal powers. Increase power to organize the executive branch Lengthen each term and remove limits on # of terms Provide adequate staff and resources, including a budget office Consider the idea of a “state manager” to handle the day-to-day supervision of agencies Terms and Ideas Weak governorsCharacteristics of governorsFormal qualifications Governor roles: Chief Legislator / Head of State Agencies / Political Party Chief / Chief Spokesperson for the State / Commander in chief of the National Guard    Formal powers:  tenure/term length, appointment powers, fiscal and budgetary powers, executive orders, military powers, pardon powers, legislative and veto powers, special session powersInformal powers Suggestions on strengthening the governor’s formal powers
This assignment asks you to provide a profile of one (1) current Texas state representative (House member) and one (1) current Texas state senator (Senate member). Go to the Texas Legislature websit
State Courts Courts interpret constitutions and laws.  But often people criticize the courts and judges for being too activist, that is courts are sometimes seen as making policy instead of just interpreting laws. Also, courts produce win-lose decisions so people who have lost their case are critical of courts. Many issues that affect daily lives are resolved, in whole or in part, by state courts. These issues include school financing, family law (divorce and child custody), inheritance law, property law, and the overwhelming majority of criminal cases. Sources of law include the United States and state constitutions; U.S. and state statutes (laws); administrative rules and regulations; and previous court decisions on a topic (precedents). All state laws and court decisions are subject to the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. Individual courts have jurisdiction, the legal authority to hear and decide specific types of cases. The types of jurisdiction are: geographic jurisdiction:  the United States Supreme Court has jurisdiction for the entire country while all state courts can only hear cases from their own states. original or appellate jurisdiction:  original jurisdiction courts are trial courts where cases must first begin.  They have a judge and most of the time a jury.   If trial court decisions are appealed, appellate jurisdiction courts review the decisions made by the original jurisdiction courts.  Some appellate jurisdiction cases are heard en banc (by all court members) or can be heard by a panel (usually 3 members). general or limited jurisdiction:  general jurisdiction courts can hear cases on many different legal issues while limited jurisdiction courts can hear cases dealing with  specific types of law (e.g., traffic courts) mandatory or discretionary jurisdiction:  mandatory jurisdiction courts are obligated by law to hear certain cases while discretionary courts can decide what cases to hear What court one goes to depends upon what laws are involved.  Basically, there is the federal court system, which hears cases based upon the federal constitution plus federal laws, and the 50 state court systems, which hear cases based upon state law. Both the federal court system and each state court system follow the same basic pattern even though individual states use many different names for their courts.*Nearly all states have specialized, limited jurisdiction courts, and so does the federal government (e.g., U.S. Tax Court).  Both the 50 states and the federal government have original jurisdiction (trial) courts that cover a broad range of issues. *Many, but not all, states and the federal government have intermediate appellate courts to which a party can appeal a lower court decision. *Finally, all states and the federal government have top appellate jurisdiction courts, “courts of last resort,” which have the final word in a particular case. Note:  people who lose at the state top court level may appeal to the United States courts if, and only if, they can claim the state violated the U.S. Constitution. Note:  at the lowest level in state courts many times there can be a bench trial, a trial in which the judge hears the case (both sides) and then makes a decision without a jury present.  In federal District Courts there is generally is a jury although the parties can also opt for a bench trial. Texas Court system: Texas has two top appellate courts (Oklahoma has the same system).  The other 48 states have a single highest appellate court, usually called the supreme court. Texas has the Supreme Court (with nine justices) for civil and juvenile cases and the Court of Criminal Appeals (also with nine judges) for criminal cases. The state’s intermediate appellate courts are the 14 Courts of Appeal, which hear cases from the 456 District Courts.  In the case of death penalty decisions, all such cases go directly to the Court of Criminal Appeals, bypassing a Court of Appeals. Below the District Courts are County Trial Courts of limited jurisdiction. Finally there are local trial courts: Justice Courts and Municipal Courts. As with all court systems, the Texas court system is complex and more detailed information can be found on the website: Judicial selection: there are several different ways states select their judges. In contrast, all federal judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Regardless of selection method, politics (and ideology) has a major impact on the process. State judicial selection methods include: *Gubernatorial appointment: governor appoints, senate/legislature confirms; similar to federal system.*Legislative selection: State legislatures choose judges.  This method is used in only a few states.*Partisan election: used in many states, especially in the south and in Texas. Candidates from different political parties oppose one another for the same position.*Nonpartisan election: similar to partisan election but without partisan labels for candidates on the ballot; in some states, partisan endorsement does occur. *Merit selection/Missouri Plan – merit commissions nominate candidates for openings and then the governor appoints; the public later gets a voice in retention elections (elections about whether to keep or remove a judge); the idea of this method is to combine the features of appointive and elective systems.  About half of the states use this system. Civil and criminal law:   Criminal law covers wrongdoing against the state and the public (although specific criminal acts are usually against an individual or group) while civil law deals with disputes between two private parties. Criminal court procedures: arrest, specific charge by grand jury (indictment), plea bargains (occur often); pretrial motions, jury selection, witnesses for both sides, evidence, arguments, and if there is a conviction, sentencing.*grand jury:  a group of 16 to 23 citizens which decides if a case should go to trial*indictment:  a formal criminal charge*felony versus misdemeanor charges: in felonies, or serious crimes, the possible imprisonment is more than a year; if convicted of a misdemeanor, the punishment is less serious.  Many defendants’ rights and rights of the convicted are guaranteed by the U. S. Supreme Court interpretations of the U. S. Constitution.  Meeting these guarantees has raised the complexities and costs for states.*Many states have created victims’ rights provisions.  Since in criminal cases, the victim and/or family have traditionally been left out of the process, provisions for serving as a trial witness, the courts’ allowing of victims’ impact statements in court, and attendance at all phases, including sentencing, have become state law.*Depending upon state law, a convicted individual may appeal the court decision to the state’s appellate courts. Civil cases involve filing of complaint by a plaintiff but otherwise the court procedures are similar to those for criminal cases. Important differences include burden of proof:  in civil cases, the burden is preponderance of the evidence. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt (a higher standard).  In a civil case the losing party usually pays money to the winner while in a criminal case the convicted person may go to prison. The slowness of the whole process has led to things like streamlining processes or granting other local officials the ability to make judicial decisions in limited situations.  Also states have experimented with alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in which a mediator presides over a meeting between two parties (sides) and helps them come to their own agreement or an arbitrator hears both sides and then makes a recommendation to the court.  ADR methods can resolve many cases without resorting to a courtroom. Terms and Ideas Activist courts/judgesPrecedentRelationship of state laws and constitutions to the U. S. ConstitutionJurisdiction /Geographic jurisdictionOriginal jurisdiction courts (trial courts) / Appellate jurisdiction courts General and limited jurisdiction / Mandatory and discretionary jurisdictionFederal and state court system similaritiesState top courts-“courts of last resort”Bench trials and jury trialsCharacteristics of the Texas court systemJudicial selection:  gubernatorial appointment; legislative selection; partisan election; nonpartisan election, merit system (Missouri Plan)Civil law and criminal lawDifferences between civil and criminal court proceduresVictim’s rights protectionsAlternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods Extras Texas Courts Online – Gives a diagram on Texas courts (other court systems will be different)
This assignment asks you to provide a profile of one (1) current Texas state representative (House member) and one (1) current Texas state senator (Senate member). Go to the Texas Legislature websit
The Bureaucracy For most Americans, the term “bureaucracy” refers to the executive branch agencies that carry out laws. However, all large modern organizations, including private, for-profit ones, have certain organizational characteristics: Division of labor:  work is divided into task and function (e.g., computer technology workers, manual labor workers, administrative workers) Specialization:  employees’ jobs and specific tasks are narrowly defined rather than employees’ doing all organizational tasks Hierarchy:  there is a clear vertical chain of command in which those at the “top” of the chain have final authority There are formal, written rules Records and files are maintained Professionalism-most employees obtain and keep their jobs based upon qualifications (In this course, the terms “bureaucracy” and “agency” refer to governmental organizations and are used interchangeably). Governors, as chief administrators, try to manage state agencies (or state bureaucracies) in a number of ways including urging strategic planning, initiating policy, settling disputes among agencies, recruiting administrative and judicial officials, and developing the budget.  Governors have limited appointment and budgeting powers, and these limitations will affect how agencies implement gubernatorial and legislative wishes.  In addition, public bureaucracies are large and complex; there are long-term careerists, who may have been there before the current governor and will be there after the governor leaves and who may have their own ideas about how their agencies should work; outside sources of political influence such as legislative committees and interest groups may influence how bureaucratic agencies carry out laws. Public agencies are also known for “red tape,” referring to the many steps and all the paperwork required to accomplish a task.  On the other hand, this “red tape” also provides a record of organizational actions taken and a sort of “check and balance” system that protect individuals. Public bureaucracies both (1) implement (carry out) laws and (2) make policy by interpreting laws and writing out detailed instructions.  Street-level bureaucrats, agency employees who actually work with the public (e.g., police) or clients (e.g., social workers), have considerable discretion in how they carry out a law; so in effect they make policy. It is important to understand some of the historical development of the public bureaucracy in the United States:  in the beginning governments were small and did only a few things so Presidents, governors, and other elected officials tended to appoint people loyal to them or friends (this is not to say that appointees were always incompetent; it would be a stupid political move to put someone in a position who would later make serious mistakes). This practice of appointment was called the spoils system (patronage system), or hiring and retention of government employees on the basis of loyalty and political support.  Corruption in hiring and pay often occurred.  However, as more immigrants came into the country, the economy grew, infrastructure demands, and social, economic, and public health issues grew, government grew to provide for the needs of an increasingly complex country.  State governments also expanded, starting in the late 1800’s.  Qualified people were needed, and hiring on the basis of qualifications became a necessity.  The Pendleton Act (1883) was passed to require that many federal bureaucrats be qualified for their positions.  Hiring and retaining on the basis of skills, knowledge, and abilities became known as the merit system.  Almost all states have similar systems. Not all governmental workers are hired through the merit system.  The governor may have limited powers to appoint aides and certain other higher-level positions to the executive branch.  Also, as in Texas, many of the top executive-branch officials are separately elected, creating the plural executive problem:  many top agency officials may not have loyalty to the governor and support his/her policies. Reforms of agencies in individual states, like administrative reorganization, have been designed to make government more efficient, effective, responsive, and accountable.  Reforms, however, generally must be put into law by the state legislature, not just the governor, and are not always fully implemented or successful. Terms and Ideas Bureaucracy characteristicsPublic bureaucracy (governmental agency)Red tape-benefits and costsHow do bureaucracies affect policy?Street-level bureaucratsSpoils system (patronage system)Merit system

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