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Bicameral Legislation

A bicameral system is a legislative system in which the power of law making is vested in two houses, or chambers, both of which must approve a bill before it becomes law.There are a few general guidelines by which most bicameral systems, including the United States, operate.The upper house, The Senate, is made up of members selected on a territorial basis.Therefore, senators represent states, or other political subdivisions instead of the people themselves.They also serve longer terms than members of the lower house.The lower house, the House of Representatives, is composed of members selected according to population.They serve shorter terms and have closer identification with the districts they represent.This makes it much more possible for members to strongly reflect the existing mind of the electorate.This bicameral system is in force in all states except Nebraska which, since 1937, has had a unicameral legislature.Throughout the world, national parliaments are about equally divided between bicameral and unicameral systems.
Throughout the history of the United States' bicameral system, committees have served a primary role.Standing, or permanent, committees were not new when established in America; rather, the concept originated in British Parliament.Therefore, when the American colonial assemblies and the Continental Congress implemented the committee into their legislative structures, the people were familiar with committees and their functions.In the early days of U.S. Congress, most bills were determined in the full chamber, leaving only details and clerical tasks for ad hoc committees.This system was flexible and responsive to the preferences of the entire House or Senate.However, as the duties of Congress grew, permanent committees were necessary.
The First Congress created a standing Committee on Enrolled Bills in 1789.This was thefirst permanent committee created, and coexisted w…

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