Tribpedia: Texas House of Representatives

The Texas House of Representatives is one arm of the the Texas Legislature, the other being the Texas Senate. It is considered the "lower" chamber, with 150 members who represent districts of 150,000 people each. The primary legislative power is enacting laws, and the most visible function of the Legislature is to make public policy through drafting, considering and ...

Speaker Joe Straus during June 9, 2015 Tribune Conversation
Speaker Joe Straus during June 9, 2015 Tribune Conversation

Straus: A Cautious, Conservative Session

In a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, House Speaker Joe Straus touted the new state budget, franchise tax cuts and the Legislature’s slow but steady pace this year. He said he wasn't surprised by the failure of ethics reform legislation and said a controversial union dues bill was plagued by "the poorest job of lobbying" he'd seen.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.

Analysis: Taking Stock of the Ethics Session

The governor asked lawmakers to put ethics reform at center stage this year. They filed bills. They even voted in favor of some strong restrictions on lobbyists' and officeholders' official behavior. But most of it never got to Greg Abbott's desk.

State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, shows off his Sine Die tie on the last day of the 84th Legislative session on June 1, 2015.
State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, shows off his Sine Die tie on the last day of the 84th Legislative session on June 1, 2015.

Analysis: A Conservative but Complicated Legislature

Voters sent a conservative pack of lawmakers to Austin and got conservative results. But it's more complicated than that. Issues that might have seemed black and white during the elections were rendered in shades of gray during the session.

Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel and Speaker Joe Straus with several other House members on dias May 1, 2015
Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel and Speaker Joe Straus with several other House members on dias May 1, 2015

Analysis: Votes Count, but the Rules Can Count More

At the end of the legislative session, votes still count and majorities are important. But the rules come into play as well, and so do the political minorities. That has been clearly on display this week as legislators navigate a number of deadlines.

House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

Residency Requirement for Statewide Elected Officials Could Change

Statewide elected officials would no longer be required to live in Austin under a constitutional amendment that could be headed to voters on a general election ballot. The House tentatively backed the measure on Monday.

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, lays out Senate Bill 7 in the Texas House on June 27, 2011. The measure passed, 96-48.
State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, lays out Senate Bill 7 in the Texas House on June 27, 2011. The measure passed, 96-48.

House Votes to Keep Free Tuition for Some Veterans' Kids

At the last minute, the House voted to scrap changes to the Hazlewood program that would have made many children of veterans ineligible for free tuition. The bill will still need to be reconciled with the Senate's more restrictive version. 

 

Former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is shown in 2011.
Former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is shown in 2011.

Former State Rep. Leo Berman Dies at 79

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Tributes poured in this weekend from Texas conservatives and Democrats alike for former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, whose death was announced Saturday on the Texas House floor. He served in the House from 1999 to 2013. 

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

The Texas Senate on Friday voted to beef up the state’s underfunded retirement system for state employees by adding about $440 million to the program, a plan that has received mixed reviews from state employee advocacy groups.

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, answers an audience question during TTEvents on April 30, 2015.
Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, answers an audience question during TTEvents on April 30, 2015.

Union Dues Spark an End-of-Session Dispute

An unexpected end-of-session skirmish over payroll deductions for union dues pits Republicans against Democrats, business against labor, and presents lawmakers with one of those votes that might be important in next year's elections.

Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

Analysis: Ethics at Center Stage, Hurting for Attention

In February, Gov. Greg Abbott asked lawmakers to dedicate this legislative session to ethics reform. With only two weeks left, he's still waiting. The most significant changes being proposed still haven’t been considered by the Texas House.