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A legislature is a decision-making organization, usually associated with national government, that has the power to enact, amend, and repeal laws.[1] Legislatures observe and steer governing actions and usually have exclusive authority to amend the budget or budgets involved in the process. The most common names for national legislatures are "parliament" and "congress", although these terms have more specific meanings.

Terminology[edit]

As well as "parliament" and "congress", names for legislatures include "assembly", "diet", "majlis" and "council". "Parliament" generally refers to a legislature within a Westminster-style system.

Because members of legislatures usually sit together in a specific room to deliberate, seats in that room may be assigned exclusively to members of the legislature. In parliamentary language, the term "seat" is sometimes used to mean that someone is a member of a legislature. For example, to say that a legislature has 100 "seats" means that there are 100 members of the legislature; and saying that someone is "contesting a seat" means they are trying to be elected as a member of the legislature. By extension, the term "seat" is often used in less formal contexts to refer to an electoral district itself, as, for example, in the phrases "safe seat" and "marginal seat".

In parliamentary systems of government, the executive is responsible to the legislature which may remove it with a vote of no confidence. According to the separation of powers doctrine, the legislature in a presidential system is considered an independent and coequal branch of government along with both the judiciary and the executive.[2]

Institutional framework[edit]

A legislature creates a complex interaction between individual members, political parties, committees, rules of parliamentary procedure, and informal norms.

Chambers[edit]

A legislature is composed of one or more deliberative assemblies that separately debate and vote upon bills. These assemblies are normally known as chambers or houses. A legislature with only one house is a unicameral legislature, while a bicameral legislature possesses two separate chambers, usually described as an "upper house" and a "lower house". These usually differ in the duties and powers they exercise – the upper house being more revisionary or advisory in parliamentary systems – and the methods used for the selection of members. Tricameral legislatures are rare; the Massachusetts Governor's Council still exists, but the most recent national example existed in the waning years of caucasian-minority rule in South Africa.

In presidential systems, the powers of the two houses are often similar or equal, while in federations, the upper house typically represents the federation's component states. This is a case with the supranational legislature of the European Union. The upper house may either contain the delegates of state governments – as in the European Union and in Germany and, before 1913, in the United States – or be elected according to a formula that grants equal representation to states with smaller populations, as is the case in Australia and the United States since 1913.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Debate #3 Glossary". Hansard Society. November 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  2. ^ "Governing Systems and Executive-Legislative Relations (Presidential, Parliamentary and Hybrid Systems)". United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legislature — Please support Wikipedia.
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The Detroit News

The Detroit News
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:50:00 -0700

Coleman Young II, a Democrat, is nearing the end of his eligibility to serve in the Legislature. Young, one of several politicians to benefit from family lineage, fought much of the effort to rescue Detroit from financial collapse. But he knows the ...
 
West Hawaii Today
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:33:45 -0700

The budget request to the Legislature would not include $231 million through fiscal years 2016 and 2017 to fund pay raises dictated by collective bargaining. Those funds are already set to be covered by the state. The anticipated increases in operating ...
 
Topeka Capital Journal (blog)
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:41:15 -0700

What if Governor Brownback loses on November 4th and on November 5th he and the legislators decide to take even more power away from the governor? Then Governor Brownback sits back and coasts until the end, and the legislature prepares to have full ...
 
WROC-TV
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:15:00 -0700

Rochester, NY (WROC) - The Monroe County Legislature didn't vote on proposed legislation, Wednesday night, that could potentially force multiple sex offenders to move from their homes. Instead, it was tabled so that it could be taken up on November 12, ...
 
Scranton Times-Tribune
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Pennsylvania's Legislature completed an undistinguished two-year session Monday by demonstrating why so many of its members don't deserve to come back. The House quickly passed two pieces of terrible legislation — diminishing gun safety and free ...

The Detroit News

The Detroit News
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:13:33 -0700

District 30 (Utica, parts of Sterling Heights and Shelby Township): Incumbent Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, has worked effectively in the Legislature and deserves another term. His conservative views and fiscal common sense earn him high marks. He is ...

Newsworks.org

Philly.com
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:08:32 -0700

HARRISBURG - In the final minutes of the legislative session, the House on Monday approved a bill clearing the way for the National Rifle Association and other groups to sue local municipalities, among them Philadelphia, that enact ordinances stricter ...

CBC.ca

CBC.ca
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:49:50 -0700

New Brunswick's Legislative Assembly has been closed to the public following the shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. "Until further notice, following the armed assault at Ottawa's Parliament Buildings, the Legislative Assembly buildings are closed ...
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