Spring 2019 - 60195 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Texas Legislative Process & Internship

Class Readings: Canvas

Class Registration: Students in this course actually will intern on the staff of a  Member of the Texas House of Representatives or Texas Senate, or intern on the staff of a Texas House or Senate Committee. Also, a few students may intern with a State of Texas Agency, or the City of Austin, or a nonprofit, or a lobbyist, if the student is working at the Texas Legislature in an advocacy, lobbying, or intergovernmental relations capacity.

Since students in this class actually will intern at the Texas Legislature during the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature, students must meet with Professor Greenberg to gain admission to the class. This is necessary to determine if this Texas Legislature Internship is appropriate for the student’s schedule, skills, and goals, and ensure a successful experience for the student.

Students will not register themselves for this course, instead OSAA will register admitted students.

Class Meetings: For the first month, our class will meet on Friday mornings at the LBJ School from 9:00 am -12:00 pm. After the first month, depending on students’ internship schedules, we may meet at a different time and location, such as early morning, lunch, or Thursday evening at the Capitol.

Seminar Background: How does the Texas Legislature really work? What are the roles of legislators, staff, and committees? What are the functions of various State agencies, boards, commissions, and elected officials? What are the important public policy issues in the State of Texas? How do lobbyists and interest groups influence the process?

In this course, students will learn about the Texas Legislature, Texas state agencies, interest groups, and lobbyists. We will investigate the inner workings of the Texas Legislature on a formal and an informal basis. Students will learn the formal legislative process including the procedural rules for bills, committees and floor debates. Also, students will investigate the informal process of lobbying and behind the scenes negotiating. Additionally, we will examine the legislative and policy implications of the 86th Texas Legislature that begins January 8, 2019 and ends May 27, 2019.

Course Deliverables:

Each student will write 1 memo summarizing a Texas Legislature Committee Hearing that the student attended or watched online. (See details in Canvas)
Each student will write 1 memo that is a proposal describing the student’s final term paper topic. (See details in Canvas)
Each student will write a Final Term Report regarding the major bills or issues that the student followed during the internship. (See details in Canvas)
Each student will make class presentations including a presentation of the student’s Final Term Report. (See details on Canvas)
Each student will participate in class discussions