Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Texas Legislature, Senate (Committees & General)

Spring 2017

Position: Intern, Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations
Student: Spanish Linguistics Senior

As an intern for the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security, you will be directly involved with the day to day affairs regarding policy issues and policy making. This committee is located on the third floor of the Sam Houston Building, on the northeast corner of the Texas Capitol grounds. The committee chairwoman for the 85th Legislative Session is Texas Senator Donna Campbell, while the committee director is USMC Major James Crabtree. This committee is comprised of a committee director, a committee clerk, Carrie Smith, and as many interns as they can recruit. It is a very flexible and understanding entity when it comes to working with students. For this particular session, all the interns are military veterans; however, that is not a requirement to be involved with this committee.

This committee is only created once every odd year for legislative session, yet there are similar opportunities with various offices within the capitol. That clarified, as an intern for the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security, first, you will be required to dress professionally on a regular basis. The men in this committee typically wear a suit to work due to the rules of the capitol. The capitol decrees that for any male to be on the floor or in a hearing, it is necessary for them to wear a coat and tie. Women do not have any specific requirements other than business attire.

From the moment you start with this committee, you will be required to learn a great deal. You will need to become proficient with various programs pertaining to the senate and the committee such as Texas Legislative Online, Podio, TLIS, CapWep, CapCentral, and BASE. Then you will have to learn to read bills. This sounds to be a pretty simple task; however, there is a particular type of jargon and language used in writing bills. It is nothing too difficult to understand once you have gone over them several times and get the hang of it. The third thing you will be expected to do is to research topics appropriately and thoroughly. You will have to compare your research to make sure you are finding unbiased information. Ultimately, you will sit with your committee clerk and director and discuss your findings in depth so that the information discovered will be passed on to the chairwoman and eventually the committee.

Position: Intern, Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations
Student: Sociology Senior 

The internship I participated in was the Veteran Affairs and Border Security Committee, which is established under the Texas Senate. I immediately report to the Committee Clerk, and the Committee Director resides above both of us within our committee office. I interned here for ten hours each week, and I split those hours up into two-hour shifts each weekday. When I would come in the mornings for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I would start my day by reading the Senate agenda for that day, and checking whether our committee had bills that had been filed, referred to, or being heard. My next task was to skim the newspaper that is delivered by one of the messengers, and read the articles that pertain to issues involving veterans or border security. Once I’ve accomplished this, I input the Senate and House bills that sound like they may be directed to our committee using a website called, “Podio.” I track who the author of the bill is, if it has a companion bill, and analyze what the filed bill intends to amend. I’m usually only able to add approximately five to ten bills to the consolidation website before I leave to attend class for the day. On Tuesdays, I come in and immediately start helping the Committee Clerk organize the senator binders for the committee hearings that took place on Wednesdays. Thursdays, I would type up responses to people that gave testimonies during the hearings. Throughout each week there would be different things asked of me that helped me expand my overall knowledge of the daily operations of the Texas Senate. A few of the many perks of being an intern for the Texas government is the privilege of being given an identification badge that grants access to almost any office within the state capitol. Not to mention all the free food opportunities that are thrown at you by lobbyist groups. Overall, this internship was very insightful, and allowed myself to dive deeper into the understanding of the Texas government process.

Spring 2015

Position: Legislative Intern, Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP)
Student: Government Junior

I'm interning as a legislative aide in the Texas Senate, part of the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP).I arrive at the office between 8:00-8:15 AM and usually have at least a few tasks on my to-do list by the time I'm here. These include analyzing bills that are being voted on soon, working on our own bills, helping put together talking points for interviews or press conferences, or general research on whatever topic is relevant that day. In the event I show up without something immediate to work on, I usually have at least one low-priority, long term project to work on, or I can just catch up on the news affecting the legislature.

The pace and responsibilities of the internship vary depending on where you are placed and the time of the legislative session. At the beginning, I was doing background research on the issues likely to be raised during the session or putting together research and information that might be helpful later on in the session. Toward the middle of the session, we were mostly working on the bills being heard in committee. I was assigned to the Business and Commerce committee, and on most Fridays staff assigned from the committee meet to go over bills that are planned to be heard in the committee.

At this point in the session, we spend most of the afternoon reading through and analyzing bills that have made it out of committee are eligible to be voted on by the full senate. The analysis includes everything from background research to consulting with groups in the district and around the state to get their stances and thoughts on the bill. There are other small projects peppered throughout the session, including archival research, putting together talking points, or even helping think up jokes for roasts of other members.

 


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