Interest Groups in Texas

“Interest groups tend to have greater influence in states where political parties are comparatively weaker. ” – “Interest Groups”, Texas Government 1.0

Due to the structural characteristics of our state government (which consists of a biennial legislature and a plural executive) and a lack of campaign finance regulations on most interest groups in Texas, interest groups in Texas are one of the most powerful political forces in the state’s legislative process.  They provide information to our state legislators, which is a valuable resource considering the time constraints and small legislative staff sizes.  They also play a heavy role in campaign financing in state elections.  Finally, they educate and mobilize individuals.

Some interest groups in Texas are highly centralized, concentrating decision-making at or near the top of the group’s structure and exercising leadership through a small group at that level (such as the Texas Community College Teachers Association).  Other interest groups in Texas have a decentralized internal structure, with decision-making and leadership widely dispersed among the membership (such as a Chamber of Commerce).  There are also amorphous interest groups in the state of Texas.  Amorphous interest groups lack any organizational structure and are comprised of a loose connection of individuals who only occasionally act as a group (such as welfare recipients).

“Texas’ individualistic and business-oriented culture leads to wide agreement among observers that interest groups representing business interests are the strongest in Texas” (Texas Government 1.0).  Indeed, the five biggest lobbying teams in Texas leading up to the 2015 Texas legislative session represented business interests.

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