Legislative power definition with functions characteristics and size

Legislative power

In Montesquieu’s book “The Spirit of Laws”, he proposed that it was necessary to divide the functions of the State and that they be separated into different powers. The purpose is for power to control itself and thus avoid tyranny. In this sense, the most important powers in a State are: create laws to regulate the functioning of society, administer these rules and carry out public policies. In this article we will provide you the definition of Legislative power.

For that reason the state can be divided into three major powers are exercised by different institutions: Executive , Judiciary and Legislature . It is precisely the latter that will be discussed in this post.

What is the Legislative Power

The Legislative Power is an assembly that has the authority to create laws exclusively for a political entity, it can be a country or a city. It is also responsible for the administration of the state budget . In short, the job of the Legislative Branch or legislature is to develop and amend laws. An institution that is responsible for regulating the rights and responsibilities of citizens, taking into account what the Constitution says.

Legislatures are included in almost all governments and, in democratic regimes, this power rests with Congress or Parliament. When referring to the legislative body or the bodies that make up the institution, the initials are written in capital letters, but the concept that refers to the Judiciary is written all in lower case.

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Functions of the Legislative Power

All the functions of the Legislative Power revolve around preparing, modifying or eliminating laws to ensure the social, economic and political development of the country. Those who represent this power are the senators and deputies. It is not among its functions to implement social programs or provide economic support to citizens.

Characteristics of the Legislative Branch

  • The laws enacted by the executive branch are known as legislation .
  • Legislatures oversee and direct everything the government does and have the authority to modify the budget (s) that are involved in the process.
  • Those who make up the legislature are known as legislators .
  • In representative democracies , legislators are chosen directly and popularly. In other types of regimes, proportional elections are held and the appointment of the executive is also used.
  • They are the senators and deputies officials responsible for proposing new laws and modify existing ones.
  • Each nation is in charge of establishing specific guidelines and legislation on the legislative power.
  • The legislature must deal with the development and changes of laws .
  • It controls the actions of the other powers and has the power to promote political trials.
  • In the event of a forced seizure of the Executive Power, the common thing is that the Legislative Power is dissolved. Regimes of this type leave the application of the Constitution in abeyance.

Organization of the Legislative Power

The Legislative Branch can debate and offer a vote on bills acting as a single unit or it can be composed of multiple assemblies . When a legislature serves as a single unit, it is called a unicameral . The one that is fragmented into two chambers is known as bicameral . If it is divided into three, it is tricameral and divided into four, it is four-chamber .

Bicameral Legislatures

In legislatures that are bicameral , one of the houses is generally considered the upper house and the other is the lower house. Although the two types are not strictly different, those who make up the upper house are indirectly elected or appointed rather than directly elected. They are assigned by administrative divisions instead of the population. They also come to have longer terms than those who make up the lower house.

In systems such as parliamentarians, the upper house has less power and plays a role more than any adviser. But in others, as in the case of presidential systems, the upper house has similar or greater power.

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When it comes to federations, the upper house traditionally represents all the states that are part of the federation. This is what happens with the United States Senate. The upper house contains delegates from state governments as in Germany and the European Union. Or else it can be selected with a formula that offers the same representation to states with smaller populations. This is what has happened in the United States and Australia since 1913.

Tricameral Legislatures

Three-chamber legislatures are less common . One of these is that of the Governor’s Council in South Africa and the most recent example is that of the final years of government for the white minority in South Africa. Finally, four-chamber legislatures no longer exist , although they were previously used in Scandinavia.

Legislative Branch Size

The size of a legislature is determined by the number of members that comprise it and is a trade-off between representation and speed. The larger the legislature, the better it represents the diversity of its constituents. However, if it is smaller, you can operate more quickly.

A comparative analysis has shown that the size of the lower house of a nation generally corresponds to an amount that is equivalent to the cube root of its total population. This means that the size of the lower house increases as the population does, but more slowly.

The legislatures have very different sizes . The largest national Legislative Branch is the National People’s Congress of China, it has 2,987 members. The smallest is that of the Vatican City State, with only 7 members.

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