What is Bicameral?

Meaning and definition of bicameral: The adjective "bicameral" is used to describe a legislative structure composed of two separate chambers or houses. This system is rooted in the principle of checks and balances, ensuring that legislation undergoes comprehensive scrutiny before being passed into law. The two chambers typically consist of a lower house and an upper house, each with distinct roles, responsibilities, and procedures.

The lower house, often called the House of Representatives or Assembly, usually has a larger number of members who are directly elected to represent specific geographical constituencies. Representation in the lower house is commonly proportional to population, ensuring that more populous areas have greater representation. This chamber often initiates legislation, particularly concerning budgets and taxation.

The representation in the upper house of the legislature is typically not based on population, but rather aims to provide equal representation to various regions or states. This provides a counterbalance to the population-based representation of the lower house.

The bicameral system is used in various forms around the world, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries. The U.S. Congress is a bicameral legislature, with the House of Representatives as the lower house and the Senate as the upper house. Most state legislatures in the United States are also bicameral. In fact, only one state, Nebraska, has a unicameral legislature.


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