The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Dan Patrick (politician)
Dan Goeb Patrick is an American radio talk show host and politician. He is the 42nd and current lieutenant governor of Texas, serving since January 2015. From Baltimore, Patrick began his career as a radio and television broadcaster. After forming a chain of sports bars and subsequently going bankrupt, he became a radio host again, this time becoming a conservative commentator. From 2007 to 2015, Patrick was a Republican member of the Texas Senate for the 7th District, which included a small portion of the city of Houston and several Houston-area suburbs located in northwest Harris County. Patrick defeated three-term incumbent David Dewhurst in the primary runoff for lieutenant governor on May 27, 2014, he won the position in the fall general election. He was re-elected in 2018. Patrick was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 4, 1950, he was reared in a blue-collar neighborhood in East Baltimore. He is the only child of the former Vilma Jean Marshall and Charles Anthony Goeb, who worked at the Baltimore Sun for thirty-one years as a newspaper vendor, before he retired in 1984.
In life, he changed his surname from Goeb to Patrick. Patrick graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Patrick started his first radio job in 1968 at the age of 18. After college, in 1977, he became a television broadcaster at WNEP-TV in Pennsylvania. Patrick held a similar position at WTTG in Washington, D. C. before he became the lead sportscaster with KHOU-TV in Houston. As a broadcaster, Patrick was able to get attention through various stunts, such as painting himself blue in support for the Houston Oilers and wearing a large cowboy hat, he became the second most popular TV personality in Houston by 1983, as well as one of the most well-known, though surveys found that he was one of the most disliked. Patrick had excellent public speaking skills, which caused him to be nicknamed "the Silver-tongued Devil." Patrick left his job at KHOU in the mid-1980s after failing to reach an agreement with the station's new ownership for a long-term contract.
According to Patrick, as his surname from birth, was not pleasant-sounding or spelled as it sounded, he did not use it from his first day as a radio host. Instead, he used the pseudonym Dan Scott; when Patrick became a television broadcaster in 1977, he changed his air name at the request of the person who hired him in order to avoid confusing Patrick with another anchor at a competitor station with the last name of Scott. Patrick chose Dan Patrick, with "Patrick" being his middle name of his wife's brother. Patrick continued to use this name, by the time he changed his name around 2004, he and his family were known as the Patricks. In November 1983, Patrick and several investors opened one of the first sports bars in the U. S. which they named Dan and Nick's Sportsmarket. The bar did well for a time, due to "the strength of Patrick’s personality" and an oil boom in Houston at the time, they took ownership of five sports bars in the city. Patrick's mother was the company bookkeeper. Questions arose during the 2014 lieutenant governor's race about the immigration status of one of Patrick's employees, Miguel "Mike" Andrade.
Patrick and Andrade offered different recollections about Andrade's employment. The matter was raised by one of Patrick's opponents, Jerry Patterson, who questioned Patrick's declared commitment to halt illegal immigration; when the oil boom ended, Houston's economy fell, something which fatally hurt Patrick's sports bar chain. In 1986, after the sports bars failed, Patrick filed for personal bankruptcy. In October 1992, the case was closed, discharging several hundred thousand dollars in remaining debts. Patrick, who stated it took him 10 years for him and his family "to regain financial equilibrium," has and discussed the ordeal and stated how it shaped him as an individual and conservative. Soon after his bankruptcy, Patrick "reinvented himself." He became a conservative talk radio host in the 1990s. He began by buying a four-hour timeslot at AM 700 KSEV in the summer of 1987, he was a sports radio host, operating out of his remaining sports bar. However, he was able to take over the radio station in 1988, he switched to politics shortly afterward.
He hosted. The program, Dan Patrick & Friends, was broadcast in the Houston radio market on KSEV and in Dallas on AM 1160 KVCE. Patrick grew influential through his talk radio career, he earned high name recognition. As a talk radio host, Patrick advocated for fiscal conservatism, evangelical Christian values on social issues, he became a vocal opponent of illegal immigration, he was known as a populist. Patrick's talk radio career was instrumental to his political rise, including his election and influence in the State Senate and his eventual election as lieutenant governor. One notable decision Patrick made as the owner of a talk radio station was to sign Rush Limbaugh, not well known at the time, to be heard on KSEV in 1989, via radio syndication. Limbaugh's success as a national talk show host helped raise the popularity of Patrick's radio station. By February 2006, Patrick owned one radio station. In 2006, Patrick signed a deal to purchase radio station KMGS AM 1160 in Texas. By 2013, Patrick was the majority owner of two radio stations, in Dallas radio markets.
Patrick continued broadcasting after his election as a State Senator, he continued to own KSEV after his election as lieutenant governor. Patrick cons
Austin is the capital of the U. S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 4th-most populous city in Texas, it is the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U. S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2017 estimate, Austin had a population of 950,715 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census; the city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,115,827 as of July 1, 2017. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, Lake Walter E. Long. In the 1830s, pioneers began to settle the area in central Austin along the Colorado River. In 1839, the site was chosen to replace Houston as the capital of the Republic of Texas and was incorporated under the name "Waterloo."
Shortly afterward, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" and the republic's first secretary of state; the city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin. After a severe lull in economic growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its steady development, by the 1990s it emerged as a center for technology and business. A number of Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or regional offices in Austin including, 3M, Amazon.com, Apple Inc. Cisco, eBay, General Motors, Google, IBM, Oracle Corporation, PayPal, Texas Instruments, Whole Foods Market. Dell's worldwide headquarters is located in Round Rock. Residents of Austin are known as Austinites, they include a diverse mix of government employees, college students, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, a vibrant LGBT community. The city's official slogan promotes Austin as "The Live Music Capital of the World," a reference to the city's many musicians and live music venues, as well as the long-running PBS TV concert series Austin City Limits.
The city adopted "Silicon Hills" as a nickname in the 1990s due to a rapid influx of technology and development companies. In recent years, some Austinites have adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird," which refers to the desire to protect small and local businesses from being overrun by large corporations. In the late 19th century, Austin was known as the "City of the Violet Crown," because of the colorful glow of light across the hills just after sunset. Today, many Austin businesses use the term "Violet Crown" in their name. Austin is known as a "clean-air city" for its stringent no-smoking ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, including restaurants and bars. U. S. News & World Report named Austin the #1 place to live in the U. S. for 2017 and 2018. In 2016, Forbes ranked Austin #1 on its "Cities of the Future" list in 2017 placed the city at that same position on its list for the "Next Biggest Boom Town in the U. S." In 2017, Forbes awarded the South River City neighborhood of Austin its #2 ranking for "Best Cities and Neighborhoods for Millennials."
WalletHub named Austin the #6 best place in the country to live for 2017. The FBI ranked Austin as the #2 safest major city in the U. S. for 2012. Austin, Travis County and Williamson County have been the site of human habitation since at least 9200 BC; the area's earliest known inhabitants lived during the late Pleistocene and are linked to the Clovis culture around 9200 BC, based on evidence found throughout the area and documented at the much-studied Gault Site, midway between Georgetown and Fort Hood. When settlers arrived from Europe, the Tonkawa tribe inhabited the area; the Comanches and Lipan Apaches were known to travel through the area. Spanish colonists, including the Espinosa-Olivares-Aguirre expedition, traveled through the area for centuries, though few permanent settlements were created for some time. In 1730, three missions from East Texas were combined and reestablished as one mission on the south side of the Colorado River, in what is now Zilker Park, in Austin; the mission was in this area for only about seven months, was moved to San Antonio de Béxar and split into three missions.
Early in the 19th century, Spanish forts were established in what are now San Marcos. Following Mexico's independence, new settlements were established in Central Texas, but growth in the region was stagnant because of conflicts with the regional Native Americans. In 1835 -- 1836, Texans won independence from Mexico. Texas thus became an independent country with its own president and monetary system. After Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic's capital in Houston, be relocated to the area situated on the north bank of the Colorado River. In 1839, the Texas Congress formed a commission to seek a site for a new capital to be named for Stephen F. Austin. Mirabeau B. Lamar, second president of the newly formed Republic of Texas, advised the commissioners to investigate the area named Waterloo, noting the area's hills and pleasant surroundings. Waterloo was selected, "Austin" was chosen as the town's new name.
The location was seen as a convenient crossroads for trade routes between Santa Fe and Galveston Bay, as well as routes between northern Mexico and the Red River. Edwin Wall
State legislature (United States)
A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U. S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly; every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers or houses. In each case the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is referred to as the upper house; this chamber but not always, has the exclusive power to confirm appointments made by the governor and to try articles of impeachment. Members of the smaller chamber represent more citizens and serve for longer terms than members of the larger chamber four years. In 41 states, the larger chamber is called the House of Representatives.
Five states designate the larger chamber the Assembly and three states call it the House of Delegates. Members of the larger chamber serve for terms of two years; the larger chamber customarily has the exclusive power to initiate taxing legislation and articles of impeachment. Prior to United States Supreme Court decisions Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr in the 1960s, the basis of representation in most state legislatures was modeled on that of the U. S. Congress: the state senators represented geographical units while members of the larger chamber represented population. In 1964, the United States Supreme Court announced the one man, one vote standard and invalidated state legislative representation based on geography. Nebraska had a bicameral legislature like the other states, but the lower house was abolished following a referendum, effective with the 1936 elections; the remaining unicameral legislature is called the Nebraska Legislature, but its members continue to be called senators. As a legislative branch of government, a legislature performs state duties for a state in the same way that the United States Congress performs national duties at the national level.
The same system of checks and balances that exists at the Federal level exists between the state legislature, the state executive officer and the state judiciary, though the degree to which this is so varies from one state to the next. During a legislative session, the legislature considers matters introduced by its members or submitted by the governor. Businesses and other special interest organizations lobby the legislature to obtain beneficial legislation, defeat unfavorably perceived measures, or influence other legislative action. A legislature approves the state's operating and capital budgets, which may begin as a legislative proposal or a submission by the governor. Under the terms of Article V of the U. S. Constitution, state lawmakers retain the power to ratify Constitutional amendments which have been proposed by both houses of Congress and they retain the ability to call for a national convention to propose amendments to the U. S. Constitution. After the convention has concluded its business 75% of the states will be required to ratify what the convention has proposed.
Under Article II, state legislatures choose the manner of appointing the state's presidential electors. State legislatures appointed the U. S. Senators from their respective states until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913 required the direct election of Senators by the state's voters; the legislative bodies and their committees use either Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure or an amended form thereof. During official meetings, a professional parliamentarian is available to ensure that legislation and accompanying discussion proceed as orderly as possible without bias; the lawmaking process begins with the introduction of a bill in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Bills may be introduced in either house, sometimes with the exception of bills increasing or decreasing revenue, which must originate in the House of Representatives; the order of business in each house provides a proper time for the introduction of bills. Bills are assigned consecutive numbers, given in the order of their introduction, to facilitate identification.
A bill cannot become enacted until it has been read on a certain number of days in each house. Upon introduction, a bill is read by its title only, constituting the first reading of the bill; because a bill is read by title only, it is important that the title give the members notice of the subject matter contained in the bill. As with other legislative bodies throughout the world, U. S. state legislatures operate through committees when considering proposed bills. Thus, committee action is the most important phase of the legislative process. Most bills cannot be enacted into law until it has been referred to, acted upon by, returned from, a standing committee in each house. Reference to committee follows the first reading of the bill; each committee is set up to consider bills relating to a particular subject. Standing committees are charged with the important responsibility of examining bills and recommending action to the Senate or House. On days when a legislature is not in session, the committees of each house meet and consider the bills that have been referred to them to decide if the assigned bills should be reported f
Handbook of Texas
The Handbook of Texas is a comprehensive encyclopedia of Texas geography and historical persons published by the Texas State Historical Association. The original Handbook was the brainchild of TSHA President Walter Prescott Webb of The University of Texas history department, it was published as a two-volume set in 1952, with a supplemental volume published in 1976. In 1996, the New Handbook of Texas was published, expanding the encyclopedia to six volumes and over 23,000 articles. In 1999, the Handbook of Texas Online went live with the complete text of the print edition, all corrections incorporated into the handbook's second printing, about 400 articles not included in the print edition due to space limitations; the handbook continues to be updated online, contains over 25,000 articles. The online version includes entries on general topics, such as "Texas since World War II", biographies such as notable Texans Samuel Houston and W. D. Twichell, ranches such as the Matador, geographical entries such as "Waco, Texas".
Many Texas scholars and professors, such as Robert A. Calvert and Art Martinez de Vara, have contributed to the Handbook. Texas State Historical Association Handbook of Texas 1952 2 volume edition at HathiTrust
Sunset Advisory Commission
The Sunset Advisory Commission is an agency of the Texas Legislature that evaluates state agencies and makes recommendations to the legislature on the need for, performance of, improvements to agencies under review. The commission is headquartered in the Robert E. Johnson State Office Building in Austin; as of the 85th legislative session in 2017, the commission has abolished 85 state agencies. Of that total, 39 agencies were abolished and 46 had their functions transferred to existing or newly created agencies; the commission was created in 1977 by enactment of the Texas Sunset Act. The commission has 12 members: two public members; the leader of each chamber each appoint one public member. The chair and vice-chair rotate annually between the two chambers; the commission appoints a director. Under the Sunset Act, every state agency has a specific date on which it will automatically be abolished unless the legislature passes a bill to continue the agency. Agencies are reviewed every 12 years. During the 2009 legislative session, the session adjourned without the legislature continuing several agencies, thus requiring the governor to call a special session.
Sunset staff conducts an agency's review in the interim before the session when the agency's enabling act comes under legislative scrutiny. The agency prepares a self-evaluation report for the commission. Sunset staff meets with the agency's leadership and staff as well as interest groups, regulated entities, members of the public who are affected by the agency. Staff coordinates with other state oversight agencies, such as the State Auditor's Office and the Legislative Budget Board. After the staff publishes its report with recommendations to the commission, the commission holds a public hearing and takes public comments holds a second public meeting to make decisions about which recommendations to adopt, including any new proposals from other sources; the commission can recommend any of the following: Continue the agency as is. Continue the agency with modifications (including moving functions from the agency to other agencies, moving functions from other agencies into it, most making improvements to the effectiveness and efficiency of an agency's functions.
Merge the agency with another agency. Disband the agency and either transfer its functions to other agencies, or abolish them altogether. If the commission recommends continuing the agency, it must provide draft legislation to extend the agency's Sunset date and to make any other recommendations the commission adopted; the legislature must pass a bill in order to continue an agency's existence and has complete freedom to amend or reject the commission's recommendations. The bill will continue the agency for 12 years, but this may be shortened to equalize the number and size of agencies under review each biennium or to allow the commission and the legislature to review the status of significant actions taken regarding the agency. If an agency is abolished, the Sunset Act provides a one-year wind-down period for the agency to conclude its operations; the commission performs limited reviews on agencies not subject to sunset at the discretion of the legislature and can recommend that the agency be abolished.
In those cases the legislature must pass a bill to abolish the agency without the incentive of an expiring Sunset date in the agency's enabling act. Sunset In Texas Official website
Government of Texas
The government of Texas operates under the Constitution of Texas and consists of a unitary democratic state government operating under a presidential system that uses the Dillon Rule, as well as governments at the county and municipal levels. Austin is the capital of Texas; the State Capitol resembles the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C. but is faced in Texas pink granite and is topped by a statue of the "Goddess of Liberty" holding aloft a five-point Texas star. The capitol is notable for purposely being built seven feet taller than the U. S. national capitol. The statewide elected officials are: The executive branch consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, the Secretary of State. Texas has a plural executive branch system. Except for the Secretary of State, all executive officers are elected independently making them directly answerable to the public, not the Governor.
Because of many elected officials, the governor's powers are quite limited in comparison to other state governors or the U. S. President. In popular lore and belief the lieutenant governor, who heads the Senate and appoints its committees, has more power than the governor; the governor commands the state militia and can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature. The governor appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections. All members of the executive branch are elected statewide except for the Secretary of State and the State Board of Education; the executive branch includes several boards and commissions that are constituted through a mixture of elections and gubernatorial appointments confirmed by the Senate. With the Governor appointing several members of boards and commissions, the overall effect is a sprawling network of administrative bodies that neither the Governor nor the Legislature are able to coordinate or control.
The Governor appoints the directors of a handful of state agencies, the Governor exercises direct authority over these offices. Most state agencies are headquartered in Austin; the Texas Administrative Code contains the compiled and indexed regulations of Texas state agencies and is published yearly by the Secretary of State. The Texas Register contains proposed rules, executive orders, other information of general use to the public and is published weekly by the Secretary of State; the Texas Legislature is bicameral. The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members, while the Texas Senate has 31; the Speaker of the House presides over the House, the Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor, but due to Texas's plural executive; the legislature convenes its regular sessions at noon on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years.
The maximum duration of a regular session is 140 days. The governor is given authority under the state constitution to convene the legislature at other times during the biennium; such sessions are known as called or special sessions and are reserved for legislation that the governor deems critically important in the conduct of state affairs. Called sessions are limited to a period of 30 days, during which the legislature is permitted to pass laws only on subjects submitted by the governor in calling for the session, its session laws are published in the official Special Laws. The judicial system of Texas has a reputation as one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers and many overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, which hears civil cases, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except in the case of some municipal benches, partisan elections choose all of the judges at all levels of the judiciary. All members of the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are elected statewide.
The Municipal Courts are the most active courts, with the County and District Courts handling most other cases and sharing the same buildings. Administration is the responsibility of the Supreme Court, aided by the Texas Office of Court Administration, the Texas Judicial Council and the State Bar of Texas. Texas has a total of 254 counties, by far the largest number of counties of any state; each county is run by a five-member Commissioners' Court consisting of four commissioners elected from single-member districts and a county judge elected at-large. The county judge does not have authority to veto a decision of the commissioners court. In smaller counties, the county judge does perform judicial duties, but in larger counties the judge's role is limited to serving on the commissioners court and certifying elections. Certain officials, such as the sheriff and tax collector, are elected separately by the voters, but the commissioners court determines their office budgets, sets overall county policy.
All county elections are partisan. The Commissioners Courts in Texas are