The Legislative Branch Like the United States government, the Texas legislature has two housesa Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate has 31 members, and the House has 150 members. These two bodies meet every two years, although they may be called to a special session by the governor when an emergency arises. Legislators are responsible for making the laws that govern Texas. Other duties include approving or rejecting people that the governor has appointed to certain offices; discussing how money should be spent; and deciding what to do about taxes, education, and the environment. Special committees in each house deal with specific affairs of the state, such as health and human services, agriculture and livestock, and natural resources.
The Executive Branch The executive branch of the state government carries out the laws passed by the legislative branch. The governor is the head of this branch. He or she is elected for a term of four years, and may be reelected over and over. The governor appoints many people to boards and commissions, but the Senate must approve these appointments. Another important power of the governor is the ability to veto laws suggested by the legislature. The governor has the line-item veto as well, which allows just parts of proposed laws dealing with money to be killed. Among other elected officials of the executive branch are the lieutenant governor and the attorney general.
Financing the Government The most important job of the government is to ensure a high standard of living for its citizens. Texas spends most of the tax money it receives on education and health and human services. The legislature decides what share of the budget various state programs will receive.