Kris Seago
Government/Political Science
Material Type:
Full Course
Academic Lower Division
Austin Community College
  • ACC Liberal Arts
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    The Interplay Between the Legislature and Executive


    The Interplay Between the Legislature and Executive

    Learning Objective

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    • Compare and contrast the powers of the legislative and executive branches of government


    This section describes the various roles played by the Legislative and Executive branches in governing Texas.

    Roles Played by the Legislative and Executive Branches

    The executive and legislative branches of government play an interesting tug- of-war with public policy in Texas in a slightly different way than in the federal government. The Texas Legislature has much more initial control over the budget process than the governor. The Legislative Budget Board (LBB), in which the governor plays no part, is an entirely legislative agency, and prepares the state’s draft budget under the direction of legislative leaders. This legislature-driven budget, however, starts from a number generated by a different member of the executive branch – the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

     The Comptroller’s BRE (biennial revenue estimate) is the initial estimate of what  the state’s total revenue will be over the two-year budget cycle and is a  preview of the number the Comptroller will use at the end of the legislative session to “certify” the budget. Without certification by the Comptroller, the state budget cannot take effect, and legislators would be required to start over. At the end of the session, however, the governor’s office experiences a power surge seen in no other state. A governor can veto most bills after the legislature has finally adjourned, removing the threat of an override. The governor also has “line-item veto” authority, allowing him to veto individual spending items from the state budget without vetoing the entire bill. As with other vetoes – his line-item vetoes can be made after the legislative session has ended.

    While the legislature has the sole power to make law in Texas, executive branch agencies have significant latitude to interpret state statutes through agency rulemaking. Legislators, aware and and somewhat wary of this, require a special statement attached to the official analysis of every bill considered on the floor of the House or Senate disclosing whether the bill delegates any rulemaking authority to any state official or agency.

    The Texas Attorney General also brings some interpretive power to the equation. With the power to issue a formal Attorney General’s Opinion, this official can sometimes make public policy decisions separately from the legislature, and without the judicial branch. An Attorney General’s Opinion in Texas has the force of law until a court rules otherwise, or the legislature changes the law on which the opinion is based.

    Licenses and Attributions


    The Legislative and Executive Branches. Authored by: Andrew Teas. License: CC BY: Attribution