Tribpedia: Texas House of Representatives

Tribpedia

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 ...

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Inside Intelligence: Changing Parties

For this week's installment of our nonscientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we asked whether more House members will change parties, how switchers should make the change and whether (and which) Republicans will peel off to vote with the Democratic minority during the coming legislative session.

State Representatives Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter announce their switch to the Republican Party in a press conference at Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin.
State Representatives Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter announce their switch to the Republican Party in a press conference at Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin.

Now They Have to Win as Republicans

Now that state Reps. Allan Ritter of Nederland and Aaron Peña of Edinburg have ditched the Democrats, attention turns to how they'll hold on to their seats. The former is following a time-tested strategy that has worked for others. The latter is challenging political history.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 12/13/10

Ramsey on what a GOP supermajority means, Ramshaw on a crime victim not eligible for crime victims' compensation, M. Smith on grave matters and state regulation, Hamilton on the college pipeline at San Antonio's Jefferson High, Hu on a senator's anticlimactic return, Grissom on the coming closure of juvenile lockups, Aguilar on the return of residents to their drug-war-torn Mexican town, Galbraith on next session's energy agenda, Philpott on the legal fight over federal health care reform and Stiles on the travel expenses of House members: The best of our best from Dec. 13 to 17, 2010.

State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.
State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.

Olbermann on the New Texas House Supermajority

The new GOP supermajority in the Texas House made MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight. The host joked that Democrats "are now as relevant as the mythical chupacabra." 

State Sen. Pete Gallego
State Sen. Pete Gallego

Pete Gallego: The TT Interview

The 10-term Democratic state representative from Alpine on what he thinks of Tuesday's newly minted Republicans, the perils of party switching, the potential death of the middle and what the 49-member minority does now.

State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.
State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.

Ritter and Peña Leave Democrats, Join Republicans

Surrounded by statewide elected officials and a pack of fellow lawmakers, Democrats Aaron Peña of Edinburg and Allan Ritter of Nederland defected to the Republican Party this afternoon.

State Rep. Allan Ritter
State Rep. Allan Ritter

What a Supermajority Means in the Texas House

When state Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland, switches parties today, he'll give the Republicans the votes to do anything they want. With a two-thirds majority, the GOP will be able to suspend the rules that govern House business and will have the numbers to keep working even if the Democrats take a walk. On a practical level, Ritter's switch gives Republicans an even bigger buffer on votes that just require a majority of the 150-member House. "It means we can lose 24 votes and still win," says state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

House Members' Travel Spending Averaged $11,000

Retiring state Rep. Joe Crabb, R-Atascocita, led all Texas House members in government-funded travel expenses in the last fiscal year, according to a Texas Tribune review of expense reports obtained from the state comptroller. Crabb spent $48,400, versus a per-member average of about $11,000. In all, 14 members spent more than $30,000. View a sortable table of travel totals by member.

What Do Texas Democrats Do Now — and Who'll Lead Them?

Six weeks after the drubbing their party took at the hands of voters, surviving Texas House Democrats find themselves at a crossroads — on style and substance, politics and policy. With massive budget cuts looming, will they effectively sit out the session and force Republicans in the majority to have all the blood on their hands? Will they participate just enough to soften the blow in the areas they care about the most: education and health care? Can they hold together a solid 51-vote bloc on key legislation? Where exactly should they go from here? And who will lead them?

State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.
State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

Endangered at the Lege: White Democratic Women

The force of the GOP wave in November was so strong that black Republicans and Latino Republicans outnumber the Texas House's new endangered species: the white Democratic woman. And if the 16-vote victory of state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, doesn't survive a recount, the species will be extinct.

House Ethics Panel Meets on Speaker's Race Threats

In a House Ethics Committee meeting Tuesday, state Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, revealed that state Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, is the man behind an alleged threat that lawmakers who fail to support Speaker Joe Straus for re-election could face retribution through redistricting. Hopson named Phillips before the panel went into a closed executive session to discuss the allegation.