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Congress: The Senate and the House of Representatives
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A Mini Course on State and Local Governments
This can be a great way to start your adventure as an advocate. It can also be a steppingstone to a political career. Check with your local government to find out if there are similar organizations in your city or town. Do you have a school-related issue? If you haven't done so already, raise the issue at your school's parent-teacher meeting. You may find allies there. Check with your local government--meetings of the Board of Education may be open to the public and may also offer an opportunity for the public to voice concerns. If an open forum is not available, write letters to the chairman and members.
Follow up on your communication.
Learn about members of the Board. You may be able to find information about them on the web. Type in the name of your local city and "board education.
Branches of the U.S. Government | USAGov
Is your issue related to city services? Meetings of a city's legislative body often offer public forums where citizens can voice their concerns or their dissatisfaction with city services. If a public forum is not available, write to your local legislator. Again, the web is a good place to find information about your local legislator. Links to the legislative body can be found on your city's home page. Contact the local legislator usually a member of the city council who represents the area in which you live. In many cities and towns they act as an ombudsman to help you solve local problems--potholes, trash removal, an unsafe pedestrian crossing near a senior citizen complex, or a neighborhood nuisance.
If you are not sure what district you live in, check the web for district maps and for the name of your local legislator or call your public library. Invite them to a meeting of your neighbors to discuss a neighborhood issue. These local public officials should be very accessible to you. Your city council member might be a member of your school's PTA, shop in the same supermarket, or even be your next door neighbor.
Invite them to speak at a meeting called to discuss a neighborhood problem. Your problem may be their problem too. Your community's newspapers are a good source of news on local issues. Obviously, local radio or television newscasts are sources of information. Most of these media outlets have web sites where you can find information on local issues. Subscribe to a local newspaper or television station's electronic newsletter. Many of them can be customized to fit your interests. You receive updated news hours before it is broadcast or printed.
Many larger cities have neighborhood newspapers often called "advertisers" which offer ads for local businesses and tradespeople. They are free and are distributed to apartment buildings and neighborhood stores. They often follow neighborhood issues not found in traditional newspapers. Local newspapers for small cities and towns will serve the same function.
Attend meetings of your city or town's legislative body, your local school board, or neighborhood organization. Join an organization that is dedicated to the issues that are important to you. Contact an organization dedicated to your issue. Ask questions, subscribe to newsletters, check their web site regularly.
- The Senate and the House of Representatives: lesson overview?
- Branches of the U.S. Government.
- Democracy in Theory and Practice.
Check with members of a coalition to which you belong. Some members are more involved than others in the day-to-day work on a particular issue and may have current information. Subscribe to a state or local legislator's newsletter. This is a good way not only to keep up with what's happening, it's also a good way to find out what kinds of issues he's interested in. It may also alert you to meetings or hearings on legislative issues you'd like to attend or the upcoming legislative schedule. Check the web regularly, especially your state legislature's site. Information may be available to you more quickly than waiting for print publications.
Use your state legislature's site to track the progress of state bills or call your state legislator and talk to the staff member who is working with the bill.
That's also a good opportunity for you to build a relationship with the staff member. Use your favorite search engine to find information on the web. You may be surprised at the amount of information you find. Not everything on the web is reliable--use information only from trusted sources. If you don't see what you are looking for on page one or two of the results, be sure to look through several levels.
Your information may be on page 9 or 10!! Type in two or three keywords. If you don't find what you want Add or subtract a key word Change one or more of your keywords. Alter the sequence of your keywords. Legislative, oversight, and internal administrative tasks are divided among about two hundred committees and subcommittees which gather information, evaluate alternatives, and identify problems. They propose solutions for consideration by the full chamber.
They also perform the function of oversight by monitoring the executive branch and investigating wrongdoing. In order to form a bill or resolution, first the House Financial Services committee meets.
Committee members sit in the tiers of raised chairs, while those testifying and audience members sit below. Ideas for legislation can come from members, lobbyists, state legislatures, constituents, legislative counsel, or executive agencies. Usually, the next step is for the proposal to be passed to a committee for review.
A submitted proposal usually takes one of the following forms:. A compromise plan was adopted where representatives were chosen by the population and two senators were chosen by state governments. The two-chamber structure had functioned well in state governments.
A compromise plan was adopted and representatives were chosen by the population which benefited larger states. Two senators were chosen by state governments which benefited smaller states. When the Constitution was ratified in , the ratio of the populations of large states to small states was roughly 12 to one. The Connecticut Compromise gave every state, large and small, an equal vote in the Senate.
Since each state has two senators, residents of smaller states have more clout in the Senate than residents of larger states. However, since , the population disparity between large and small states has grown. For example, in California had 70 times the population of Wyoming. Critics, such as constitutional scholar Sanford Levinson, have suggested that the population disparity works against residents of large states and causes a steady redistribution of resources from large states to small states.gesteverbtor.tk
Clerk of the United States House of Representatives
However, others argue that the framers intended for the Connecticut Compromise to construct the Senate so that each state had equal footing that was not based on population. Critics contend that the result is successful for maintaining balance. A major role for members of Congress is providing services to constituents. Constituents request assistance with problems. Providing services helps members of Congress win votes because elections can make a difference in close races. Congressional staff can help citizens navigate government bureaucracies.
Related Support Offices in the House of Representatives: Roles and Authorities
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