Glossary: The Texas Legislature

biennial sessions: In Texas, legislative sessions meet once every odd-numbered years, for 140 days

bill: a proposed law that has been sponsored by a member of the legislature and submitted to the clerk of the House or Senate

cracking: occurs when a constituency is divided between several districts in order to                    prevent it from achieving a majority in any one district.

gerrymandering: the process in which voting districts are redrawn in a way to favor one party during elections

legislative budget: the state budget that is prepared and submitted by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and that is fully considered by the House and Senate

packing: occurs when a constituency or voting group is placed within a single district, thereby minimizing its influence in other districts.

redistricting: the process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives in the Texas House, Texas Senate, and U.S. House. Redistricting typically occurs every 10 years to reflect shifts in population or in response to legal challenges in existing districts

single-member district: a district in which one official is elected rather than multiple officials.

special session: a legislative session called by the governor that addresses an agenda set by him or her; lasts no longer than 30 days

Voting Rights Act of 1965: mandates that electoral district lines cannot be drawn in such a manner as to “improperly dilute minorities’ voting power”