Back to start Site Map In Spanish
Help screen
Go to Senate Jr. Go to Teachers and Parents

Legislative Terms Glossary

     Can you speak the language of lawmaking? Get to know the legislative terms used around the capitol by playing the Legislative Terms Seek and Find. There is also a Seek and Find in Shockwave format. If you think you know your stuff, match your wits against the "Quiz-O-Matic" (only works correctly in Netscape browsers). There is also a Shockwave "Quiz-O-Matic".

Click on a word to see its definition.
Conference Committee
Floor action
House of Representatives
Lieutenant Governor
Sine Die
Texas Constitution

Word Find Activity Familiarize yourself with these terms by printing out the Legislative Terms Seek and Find.
Shockwave Word Find
The Seek and Find is also offered in Shockwave format.

Quiz-O-Matic Think you know your stuff? Test your knowledge against the "Quiz-O-Matic".
Shockwave Quiz-O-Matic
The "Quiz-O-Matic" is also offered in Shockwave format.

Back to the "For Kids" main menu

Adjourn - to close or end a meeting or session

Advocate/Advocacy - a person or group working for change in order to improve the quality of life on behalf of one's self or others

Amendment - a change or addition to a bill

Bill - a proposed law presented to legislators

Capitol - the building in which state legislative bodies meet. Texas's state capitol building is located in Austin, Texas.


Caucus - a private meeting of a group of people that belong to the same political party or have the same goal that decide policy, choose candidates or promote certain causes

Chamber - a room in the Texas Capitol used for meetings of Representatives or Senators

Committee - a group of appointed legislators that review, discuss and possibly amend bills to be voted on the floor of either house, usually in specific areas, e.g. finance, education

Conference Committee - five senators and five representatives, each appointed by their presiding officers, meet to resolve differences between two house versions of a bill

Constituents - people represented by an elected lawmaker


Convene - to come together in a body or group for meeting or gathering

Debate - to discuss or listen to opposing arguments on a bill

Democracy - a form of government in which the supreme power is given to the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation. This is usually done through periodically held free elections.

Democrat - a member of the Democratic party of the United States

Democratic - to act according to the wishes of the majority


Enrolled - when a copy of a passed bill is prepared for presentation to the governor

Filibuster - Only allowed in the Senate in Texas, a filibuster is when one senator holds the floor through talking or long speeches, without sitting down or leaving the area of his desk. This is often used to kill a bill or delay a vote as long as possible. Texas holds the record for the longest filibuster when in 1977, a senator spoke for 44 hours straight.

Forums - public meetings for open discussion of issues

Floor action - when members of the legislature debate or vote on a bill

Gavel - a mallet or hammer used by the presiding officer of a legislative body to begin or end a meeting, call for order, or call a vote.


Governor - the chief executive of a state

Hearings - an opportunity for the general public to give testimony to legislators on filed or planned legislation or other purposes

House of Representatives - a legislative body or group; a chamber in the bicameral legislature of a nation, state, or province

Law - a principle governing action, rule, or procedure that is enforced by a specific authority

Legislator - a person who makes laws


Legislature - a body or group that has the power to make laws

Lieutenant Governor - second in command to the Governor of a state; presides over the Texas Senate

Lobbyist - a person who meets with legislators with the intent of influencing legislation. Originally, the term referred to persons who frequented lobbies or corridors outside legislative chambers waiting to speak with lawmakers.

Majority - the greater number of votes that determines the whole vote of the members on the passage of a bill or other action.

Override - when the Legislature passes a bill, again with a 2/3 vote, after it has been vetoed by the governor


Quorum - the number, usually a majority, of officers or members needed to be able to officially start a meeting and conduct business

Representative - a member of the House

Republican - a member of the Republican party of the United States

Resolution - a formal expression, usually written, of the opinion or will of members of the House or Senate. Resolutions can be used to commemorate an occasion, show appreciation for a visitor or outstanding citizen, or provide constitutional provisions for a bill.

Senate - a legislative body or group; a chamber in the bicameral legislature of a nation, state, or province


Senator - a member of the Senate

Session - a term or number of days that the Legislature is in meetings, including the Interim.

Sine Die - Latin for "without another day." Final adjournment of a regular or special session of the legislature

Speaker - serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives

Term - the length of time a political official may serve once elected


Testimony - comments made by individuals during a public hearing such as before a committee or board, and which becomes public record

Texas Constitution - the law that determines the powers of the government, including the legislature, and protects the rights of Texas citizens.

Veto - rejection or disapproval of a bill instituted by the governor. A veto may override a two-thirds vote of the membership in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Vote - a formal expression of one's opinion or will in response to proposed decision, i.e. a bill, resolution, or motion.