What Does The Legislative Branch Do

What does the legislative branch do?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In federal and state government, the legislative branch's primary function is to make laws, (to legislate means to make laws),but in the federal government, the legislature has a few other responsibilities, too.  It is important for you to understand, though, that whether we are talking about the federal legislature, which is Congress, or the legislature of a particular state, the rights and responsibilites of this branch are controlled by constitutions.  For Congress, the United States Constitution controls what can be done, and in the case of state legislatures, each state constitution controls what that particular legislature can do. This is why a knowledge of the particular constitution is so very important. 

According the U.S. Constitution , Article I, Congress may make laws only in the specific areas mentioned in that article.  All other laws are the responsibility of the state legislatures.  Here are a few areas that Congress is responsible for in terms of law-making.  When the Constitution says "to regulate," it means "to make laws." 

To regulate interstate commerce, commerce with other    nations, and commerce with Native Americans

To make a system of laws for immigration

To make a system of laws for bankruptcies

To make a system of law for patents and copyrights

To create a system for taxes and regulate that system

To regulate our military system

Other responsibilities Congress has are:

To declare war

To borrow money

To regulate money

To advise and consent to many of the appointments of the president.

The entire United States Constitution is only about eight pages long, and is a document every American should be familiar with.  When you read it, you will notice that the legislature comes first in the Constitution, before the president or the Supreme Court.  The legislature has the longest section in the Constitution, showing us how important it is.  That is because we are supposed to be a nation of laws, not a nation in which presidents could have too much control.   I have provided you with a link for it.  To know what your own state legislature does, you can probably find a copy of your state's constitution on-line. 

 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The legislative branch has a number of roles.  Its main role, however, is to make laws. 

For the national government of the United States, the legislative branch is the Congress.  Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The main job of these two houses is to pass laws.  Only the members of Congress can introduce legislation.  Only the members of Congress can introduce changes to proposed legislation.  Only the members of Congress get to vote on whether proposed legislation should pass.  The process of introducing, amending, and voting on laws is the main role of the legislative branch.

However, the legislative branch does play other roles.  Let us look at two other roles it plays.  First, it (or, more precisely, the Senate) is responsible for voting on whether to confirm officials that the president has appointed.  Thus, the legislature is responsible for helping to ensure that officials like cabinet members and federal judges are competent enough to hold the positions they have been nominated for.  Second, the legislature is responsible for the oversight of the executive branch.  The legislature can hold hearings if they need to investigate how the executive branch is performing.  Thus, they also are responsible in part for ensuring that the executive branch is doing its job.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I believe this question relates to the difference functions or divisions of government.

Many democratic governments, including those in India, USA. and UK are divided in three functions or branches - legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch.

The duties and functions of legislative branch generally include the following.

  • Law making: this includes making and passing of new laws, and amending and repealing of old laws,
  • Levying of taxes.
  • Approving budgets of government expenditure.

I believe some of the functions of congress described in the answer posted above - for example, to regulate military system, to declare war, to borrow money, to regulate money, and to advice on appointment - lie more in the domain of executive branch rather than legislative branch.

junsar | Student

The legislative branch is made up of the two houses of Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives. The most important duty of the legislative branch is to make laws. Laws are written, discussed and voted on in Congress.

There are 100 senators in the Senate, two from each state. Senators are elected by their states and serve six-year terms. The Vice President of the U.S. is considered the head of the Senate, but does not vote in the Senate unless there is a tie. The Senate approves nominations made by the President to the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, federal courts and other posts. The Senate must ratify all treaties by a two-thirds vote.

There are 435 representatives in the House of Representatives. The number of representatives each state gets is based on its population. For example, California has many more representatives than Rhode Island. When Census figures determine that the population of a state has changed significantly, the number of representatives in that state may shift proportionately. Representatives are elected by their states and serve two-year terms. The Speaker of the House, elected by the representatives, is considered the head of the House.

Both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives elect leaders. The leader of the party that controls the house is called the majority leader. The other party leader is called the minority leader.

akotoleonnie | Student
the legislature is an organ of government responsible for making and changing laws of the state,in Ghana i it is called parliament,in united state is called congress. functions 1 it exercises control over government finance.it has to approve budget of the executive before the executive can raise and spend public money in th state.it also have to approve all foreign loans contracted by the government. 2they perform judicial functions,in Britain,the privy council of the House of Lords is the highest court of appeal. 3they act as deliberative and discussive bpdu as well as a forum for ventilation of the girievances of the citizens. 4they are law making and amendment body. 5it protect human right.
pororohandy | Student

Having the power to make laws: "the country's supreme legislative body".

To regulate interstate commerce, commerce with other nations, and commerce with Native Americans

To make a system of laws for immigration

To make a system of laws for bankruptcies

To make a system of law for patents and copyrights

To create a system for taxes and regulate that system

To regulate our military system

Other responsibilities Congress has are:

To declare war

To borrow money

To regulate money

To advise and consent to many of the appointments of the president.

gavchristian | Student

The Legislative branch makes laws for the nation. 
the legislative branch makes the laws.the legislative branch also overrules the presidential veto. When the president does not want to use the law, he can veto it. BUT, the legislative branch (congress) can overrule it. But the congress has the same amount of power as the rest.~


jackiepaulson8 | Student

The Legislative branch, writes laws on a bill. So they can be sent to the senator then to the Representatives and finally to the President of the United States of America.  Who Then can veto or sign it. 

 

1. The Legislative Branch writes the bills.
2. There are two groups of the Legislative Branch
3. There are 100 senators and 435 representatives, a total of 535. 
4. When the bill is written they need a simple majority to make it a law 
5. When the representatives and senators meet together they are called the congress. 
6. A senator serves 6 years. 
7. A representative serves 2 years. 
8. The Constitution got started in 1787. 
9. The first ten Amendments are called The Bill of Rights 
10.A bill has to go through the Congress to get to the President

legrand444 | Student

The Legislative branch makes laws for the nation. 
the legislative branch makes the laws.the legislative branch also overrules the presidential veto. When the president does not want to use the law, he can veto it. BUT, the legislative branch (congress) can overrule it. But the congress has the same amount of power as the rest.


jjrichardson | Student

The legislative branch is made up of the two houses of Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives. The most important duty of the legislative branch is to make laws. Laws are written, discussed and voted on in Congress.

There are 100 senators in the Senate, two from each state. Senators are elected by their states and serve six-year terms. The Vice President of the U.S. is considered the head of the Senate, but does not vote in the Senate unless there is a tie. The Senate approves nominations made by the President to the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, federal courts and other posts. The Senate must ratify all treaties by a two-thirds vote.

There are 435 representatives in the House of Representatives. The number of representatives each state gets is based on its population. For example, California has many more representatives than Rhode Island. When Census figures determine that the population of a state has changed significantly, the number of representatives in that state may shift proportionately. Representatives are elected by their states and serve two-year terms. The Speaker of the House, elected by the representatives, is considered the head of the House.

Both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives elect leaders. The leader of the party that controls the house is called the majority leader. The other party leader is called the minority leader.

truthseekah | Student

It is very important to know that although the Constitution was supposed to be a strict guide for the Federal government to prevent tyranny, it is now ignored on a regular basis.  Congress is involved in creating laws that are unconstitutional and some legislators are calling for the elimination of the Bill of Rights citing that they are outdated.


Also, Executive Orders by the President have become the norm and are unconstitutional. G.W. Bush signed a record 283 EO's and Obama has 135 signed to date.  In essence, the Presidents are making laws without Congress.

brooklyn94 | Student
The legislative branch is used to create and pass laws.
shweta12patel | Student

 Makes laws for the country and it consists of House of Representatives and Senate and approves the budget,declares war on other countries

ando81898 | Student

The legislative Branch of our Government creates bills,then sends them to the President/Executive Branch who either vetoes the bill or it will be ratified and become a law 

ik9744 | Student

Legislative branch creates and passes laws.

hadjartahax | Student

to create and pass laws.

w0413860 | Student

The Legislature makes the laws.

chryshy | Student

the legislature consists of two parties; the president and the national assembly. The legislature of Tanzania is called a Parliament, it is having a duty of enacting law under Article 64 of The Constitution of The United Republic of Tanzania of 1977.

smartipi | Student

Making laws (includes making and assign the new laws as well as amending and repealing old laws

levying taxes

and aproving budgest of the government

atyourservice | Student

The Legislative branch makes the laws.

crystaltu001 | Student

The legislative branch has to make and pass laws. That is a very important job for them to do because without them we wouldn't have any laws to follow. The legislative branch consists of the house of representatives and the senate.

The most important job for the legislative branch is to make and pass laws. It consists of the house of representatives and the senate.

taangerine | Student

The legislative branch basically makes laws. There are 2 houses of Congress in this house -- The House of Representatives and the Senate. 

zumba96 | Student

This branch makes up 2 houses of Congress. This includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. Within these 2 houses laws are made, discussed, and voted on. In the Senate there are 100 senators which means there are 2 from each state.To legislate means to make law thus the legislative branch 

arrellbelle | Student

The Legislative Branch is divided into two houses: The House of Representatives and the Senate. Essentially, their job is to write the laws, the also have the right to make any impeachment upon judges/presidents, and help to collect tax.

panda2014 | Student

The Legislative Branch is Congress. Congress is made up of two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are two senators for each of the 50 U.S. states adding up to a total of 100 senators in the senate. Each state has a different number of house representatives depending on the population of that state. All of these representatives add up to a total of 435 representatives. The Legislative Branch creates and passes legislation that pertain to the United States. Essentially, they make and assign new laws.

Yojana_Thapa | Student

Legislative branch creates and passes laws for the country.

mysticman | Student

They make laws for the country.

timao | Student

the legislative arm of government has the major function of 'enactment of laws'.  In the United States it is known as the congress, while it is called the National Assembly in Nigeria. It could be unicameral or bicameral. Unicameral means it has just one chamber while bicameral means two chambers; upper and lower chamber, the senate and house of representatives respectively 

They also represent the masses by speaking on behalf of people whom they represent. They serve as the voice of the people and they are to speak in the interest of the members of their constituency,region or county.

The legislative arm of government checks the excesses of the executive arm of government. In a federal system, there is seperation of powers which makes each arm of government autonomous in it's jurisdiction. As a result of this, they serve as a watchdog over the executive arm.

The legislative arm of government also approves the budget presented by the executive. it scrutinizes the budget to make sure there is no form of embezzlement,

In addition, the legislative arm of government exercises veto power. if the legislature pass a bill, and not assented by the executive,the legislature may not need the executive to assent it anymore if a 2/3rd majority of the legislature vote in favor of the bill then it becomes a law.

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