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|Legislatures by country|
|Part of the Politics series|
A legislator (also known as a deputy or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are often elected by the people of the state.  Legislatures may be supra-national (for example, the European Parliament), national (for example, the United States Congress), or local (for example, local authorities).
The political theory of the separation of powers requires legislators to be independent individuals from the members of the executive and the judiciary. Certain political systems adhere to this principle, others do not. In the United Kingdom, for example, the executive is formed almost exclusively from legislators (members of Parliament) although the judiciary is mostly independent (until reforms in 2005, the lord chancellor uniquely was a legislator, a member of the executive - indeed, the Cabinet - and a judge, while until 2009 the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary were both judges and legislators as members of the House of Lords, though by convention they did not vote in the House until retirement).
In continental European jurisprudence and legal discussion, "the legislator" (le législateurcode: fra promoted to code: fr ) is the abstract entity that has produced the laws. When there is room for interpretation, the intent of the legislator will be questioned, and the court is directed to rule in the direction it judges to best fit the legislative intent, which can be difficult in the case of conflicting laws or constitutional provisions.
The local term for a legislator is usually a derivation of the local term for the relevant legislature. Typical examples include
This is an incomplete list of terms for a national legislator:
|Algeria||نوابcode: ara promoted to code: ar (Députécode: ara promoted to code: ar )||People's National Assembly|
|Argentina||Diputado Nacionalcode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Deputies|
|Diputado provincialcode: spa promoted to code: es||Several provincial Chambers of Deputies|
|Belarus||Дэпутат (deputatcode: bel promoted to code: be )||House of Representatives|
|Belgium||Provincial executive member: Gedeputeerdecode: nld promoted to code: nl (Dutch) / Députécode: fra promoted to code: fr (French) / Deputiertercode: deu promoted to code: de (German)||Deputation / Provincial College (provincial executive body)|
|In French, députécode: fra promoted to code: fr is sometimes also used to denote a member of parliament.||Chamber of Representatives or a regional parliament|
|Bolivia||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Deputies|
|Brazil||Deputado estadualcode: por promoted to code: pt||Legislative Assemblies|
|Deputado federalcode: por promoted to code: pt||Chamber of Deputies|
|Bulgaria||Депутатcode: bul promoted to code: bg (Deputatcode: bul promoted to code: bg )||National Assembly|
|Canada||Senator,  Sénateurcode: fra promoted to code: fr||Senate of Canada|
|Member of Parliament (MP)  / Députécode: fra promoted to code: fr||House of Commons of Canada|
|Chile||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Deputies|
|China||Deputycode: zho promoted to code: zh (人大代表code: zho promoted to code: zh )||National People's Congress|
|Colombia||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Departamental Assemblies|
|Costa Rica||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Legislative Assembly|
|Dominican Republic||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic|
|Ecuador||Asambleístacode: spa promoted to code: es (before 2007, diputadocode: spa promoted to code: es )||National Assembly|
|El Salvador||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Legislative Assembly|
|France||Député/Députée code: fra promoted to code: fr||National Assembly|
|Sénateur/Sénatricecode: fra promoted to code: fr||Senate|
|Guatemala||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Congress of the Republic|
|Guernsey||People's Deputy||States of Guernsey|
|Haiti||Députécode: fra promoted to code: fr ||Chamber of Deputies|
|Honduras||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||National Congress|
|India||Member of Parliament||Lok Sabha|
|Iran||مجلس شورای اسلامیcode: fas promoted to code: fa||Islamic Consultative Assembly|
|Ireland||Senators / Seanadóirícode: gle promoted to code: ga||Seanad Éireann|
|Teachta Dála (TD)||Dáil Éireann|
|Italy||Deputatocode: ita promoted to code: it||Chamber of Deputies|
|Kazakhstan||Депутатcode: kaz promoted to code: kk (deputatcode: kaz promoted to code: kk )||Mäjilis code: kaz promoted to code: kk|
|Latvia||Deputātscode: lav promoted to code: lv||Saeima|
|Lebanon||Députécode: fra promoted to code: fr /النوابcode: ara promoted to code: ar (Nuwwabcode: ara promoted to code: ar , or deputy)||Parliament|
|Luxembourg||Deputéiertencode: ltz promoted to code: lb / Députécode: fra promoted to code: fr||Chamber of Deputies|
|Mexico||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Deputies|
|Netherlands||Gedeputeerdecode: nld promoted to code: nl||Provincial executive (European Netherlands)|
|Eilandgedeputeerdecode: nld promoted to code: nl||Bestuurscollege code: nld promoted to code: nl (Caribbean Netherlands)|
|Nicaragua||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||National Assembly|
|North Korea||Deputy (대의원;taeŭiwŏn)  ||Supreme People's Assembly|
|Panama||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||National Assembly|
|Paraguay||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Deputies|
|Portugal||Deputadocode: por promoted to code: pt||Assembly of the Republic|
|Romania||Deputatcode: ron promoted to code: ro||Chamber of Deputies|
|Russia||Депутатcode: rus promoted to code: ru (deputatcode: rus promoted to code: ru )||State Duma and regional legislative bodies|
|Spain||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Congress of Deputies|
|Thailand||Senator (วุฒิสมาชิก; ส.ว.code: tha promoted to code: th )||Senate|
|Member of the H.R. (สมาชิกสภาผู้แทนราษฎร; ส.ส.code: tha promoted to code: th )||House of Representatives|
|Ukraine||People's Deputy of Ukraine (Депутатcode: ukr promoted to code: uk )||Verkhovna Rada code: ukr promoted to code: uk|
|United Kingdom||Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal||House of Lords|
|Member of Parliament (M.P.)||House of Commons|
|United States of America||Senator||Senate|
|Representative; Congressperson||House of Representatives|
|Uruguay||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||Chamber of Representatives|
|Venezuela||Diputado/Diputadacode: spa promoted to code: es||National Assembly|
Some legislatures provide each legislator with an official "substitute legislator" who deputises for the legislator in the legislature if the elected representative is unavailable. Venezuela, for example, provides for substitute legislators (diputado suplentecode: spa promoted to code: es ) to be elected under Article 186 of its 1999 constitution.  Ecuador, Panama, and the U.S. state of Idaho also have substitute legislators. 
Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into "branches", each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. The typical division into three branches of government, sometimes called the trias politica model, includes a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. It can be contrasted with the fusion of powers in parliamentary and semi-presidential systems where there can be overlap in membership and functions between different branches, especially the executive and legislative. In most non-authoritarian jurisdictions, however, the judiciary almost never overlaps with the other branches, whether powers in the jurisdiction are separated or fused.
A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the ancient Roman Senate, so-called as an assembly of the senior and therefore considered wiser and more experienced members of the society or ruling class. However the Roman Senate was not the ancestor or predecessor of modern parliamentarism in any sense, because the Roman senate was not a de jure legislative body.
A legislature is an assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. They are often contrasted with the executive and judicial powers of government.
A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house members often have a different title. The terms congressman/congresswoman or deputy are equivalent terms used in other jurisdictions. The term parliamentarian is also sometimes used for members of parliament, but this may also be used to refer to unelected government officials with specific roles in a parliament and other expert advisers on parliamentary procedure such as the Senate Parliamentarian in the United States. The term is also used to the characteristic of performing the duties of a member of a legislature, for example: "The two party leaders often disagreed on issues, but both were excellent parliamentarians and cooperated to get many good things done."
Bicameralism is a type of legislature that is divided into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a single group. As of 2022, roughly 40% of world's national legislatures are bicameral, while unicameralism represents 60% nationally, and much more at the subnational level.
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified tradition that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most government functions are guided by constitutional convention rather than by a formal written constitution. In these states, actual distribution of power may be markedly different from those the formal constitutional documents describe. In particular, the formal constitution often confers wide discretionary powers on the head of state that, in practice, are used only on the advice of the head of government, and in some cases not at all.
Tricameralism is the practice of having three legislative or parliamentary chambers. It is contrasted with unicameralism and bicameralism, each of which is far more common.
The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.
A bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature as well as, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act of the legislature, or a statute. Bills are introduced in the legislature and are discussed, debated and voted upon.
Nonpartisan democracy is a system of representative government or organization such that universal and periodic elections take place without reference to political parties. Sometimes electioneering and even speaking about candidates may be discouraged, so as not to prejudice others' decisions or create a contentious atmosphere.
The Massachusetts General Court is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when the colonial assembly, in addition to making laws, sat as a judicial court of appeals. Before the adoption of the state constitution in 1780, it was called the Great and General Court, but the official title was shortened by John Adams, author of the state constitution. It is a bicameral body. The upper house is the Massachusetts Senate which is composed of 40 members. The lower body, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, has 160 members. It meets in the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill in Boston.
The Texas Legislature is the state legislature of the US state of Texas. It is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. 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 of Texas, but also due to Texas's plural executive.
An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is usually smaller and often has more restricted power than the lower house. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.
The Arizona State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Senate. Composed of 90 legislators, the state legislature meets in the Capitol Complex in the state capital of Phoenix, Arizona. Created by the Arizona Constitution upon statehood in 1912, the Arizona State Legislature met biennially until 1950. Today, they meet annually.
A dual mandate is the practice in which elected officials serve in more than one elected or other public position simultaneously. This practice is sometimes known as double jobbing in Britain and cumul des mandats in France; not to be confused with double dipping in the United States. Thus, if someone who is already mayor of a town or city councillor becomes elected as MP or senator at the national or state legislature and retains both positions, this is a dual mandate.
A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections. In each country the procedures for opening, ending, and in between sessions differs slightly. A session may last for the full term of the legislature or the term may consist of a number of sessions. These may be of fixed duration, such as a year, or may be used as a parliamentary procedural device. A session of the legislature is brought to an end by an official act of prorogation. In either event, the effect of prorogation is generally the clearing of all outstanding matters before the legislature.
Fusion of powers is a feature of some parliamentary forms of government where different branches of government are intermingled, typically the executive and legislative branches. It is contrasted with the separation of powers found in presidential, semi-presidential and dualistic parliamentary forms of government, where the membership of the legislative and executive powers cannot overlap. Fusion of powers exists in many, if not a majority of, parliamentary democracies, and does so by design. However, in all modern democratic polities the judiciary does not possess legislative or executive powers.
A term of office, electoral term, or parliamentary term is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office. In many jurisdictions there is a defined limit on how long terms of office may be before the officeholder must be subject to re-election. Some jurisdictions exercise term limits, setting a maximum number of terms an individual may hold in a particular office.
The concept of the separation of powers has been applied to the United Kingdom and the nature of its executive, judicial and legislative functions. Historically, the apparent merger of the executive and the legislature, with a powerful Prime Minister drawn from the largest party in parliament and usually with a safe majority, led theorists to contend that the separation of powers is not applicable to the United Kingdom. However, in recent years it does seem to have been adopted as a necessary part of the UK constitution.
A government trifecta is a political situation in which the same political party controls the executive branch and both chambers of the legislative branch in countries that have a bicameral legislature and an executive that is not fused. The term is primarily used in the United States, where the term originated—being borrowed from horse race betting—but also in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and France.