Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Texas Legislature (General)

Spring 2016

Position: Legislative Intern, Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Student: French Senior

One of the most important lessons learned while interning at a legislative office is becoming a self-starter. Certainly, a newcomer to the Capitol will be given some supervision and instruction, but for the most part, students are expected to develop some level of independence in the workplace. The best place to start each day is in one’s email inbox. An intern should always check his or her email before even asking what to do on a given day. Additionally, it is important for an intern to have some intellectual curiosity and start each day reading the latest news, particularly as it relates to the given area of the state that the legislator represents.

Reading local news is important because while a legislator’s primary responsibility may be lawmaking, an elected official would have a difficult time remaining in office without directly connecting with constituents. Keeping the legislator, or more likely the chief-of-staff, abreast of local events that directly affect the legislator’s constituents will be noted. Furthermore, a large part of an intern’s responsibilities involves constituent services, whereby the staffers in the office act as liaisons between constituents and state agencies. Interns will write many draft letters to constituents, enhancing their writing skills.

Another key task of a legislative intern is research. Not only will an intern be required to conduct research on a number of topics, but he or she will also have to learn how to condense the information to make it easily intelligible. Working at the Capitol can be very exciting, especially when the Legislature is in session, but the job does not come without certain tasks that may not seem so exciting. Answering phones, assembling binders, filing and getting the mail are things most all interns have to do. An intern who takes the initiative, however, to use each moment as either a skill-developing or networking opportunity will get the most of out the internship.

Spring 2015

Position: Committee Correspondent, Texas Legislative Service
Student: Economics Senior

The Texas Legislative Service was a great company to intern for and presented me with a lot of opportunities to better myself and strengthen my skills.  I was assigned to different tasks each day depending on what was needed and depending on what kind of schedule I needed for the day.  My supervisor was very understanding of my schedule and was able to assign me to tasks that would fit my schedule for that week.  

Some days I would come to the office to sign in and then I would head to the capitol to sit in on a committee meeting.  I would bring a laptop into the meeting with me and report on what was happening during the committee and any bill actions that occurred.  As soon as the committee would end, I would go up to the committee clerk and gather any substitutes if there were any and then I would return them to the office so that they could get uploaded to the system.  I would then revise and edit my report making sure that the names of any witnesses presenting testimony were spelled correctly and that I had written their job title and company correctly.  Committee meetings are unpredictable.  At the beginning of session, each committee meeting would last about an hour.  As session progresses, the committee meetings get longer.  They can also deviate in time based on what bills or how many bills are being brought up.

I was usually assigned to do bill linking.  On those days, I would be given a list of about 150-200 news articles that I would have to read through and research which bills the articles were referring to.  Sometimes bills would be written out in the articles, but most of the time I would have to go into the system and search for them based on the information that the article provided such as the author, a key word, the date that an action occurred or what vote it was passed by. After finding the bills that corresponded with each article, I would get into the system and link the bills to the articles by connecting the article reference number to the bill that it corresponded to.  On a normal day, this would take about 4-5 hours.  There were some days that I was able to finish bill linking in 2 hours and other days that it would take me 8 hours.  It all depends on the articles that were posted that day.

 



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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508
    512-471-7900