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 ...

Interactive: Visualizing Key Debates in the Lege

The Texas Tribune captured every debate, tirade and joke uttered into the microphones in the House and Senate during the 82nd legislative session in our collection of online transcripts. Our latest series of data applications helps you identify when important debates occurred by visualizing the frequency of keywords.

State Rep. Robert Earley (D-Portland) and Rep. Rick Perry on the floor of the House during the 69th Legislative session, May 15, 1985.
State Rep. Robert Earley (D-Portland) and Rep. Rick Perry on the floor of the House during the 69th Legislative session, May 15, 1985.

Slideshow: When Rick Perry was a Democrat

It may be hard to believe now, but Gov. Rick Perry got his start in politics as a Democrat, representing Haskell in the Texas House from 1985-1991. It's a period likely to be scrutinized by his Republican opponents should he run for president.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 7/4/11

Aguilar on a change in law that affects applications for state-issued IDs, Galbraith on how the drought is taking its toll on wildlife, Hamilton on an outsider's attempt to lower the cost of higher ed, Murphy visualizes the partisanship of House members, Ramsey on who becomes Lite Guv if David Dewhurst takes another job, Ramshaw on life in the colonias and three stories about Rick Perry — Grissom on how his death penalty stance might play in a 2012 presidential race, Root on how he cemented his reputation as one of the state's most powerful governors and Tan on the growing demand for him to speak elsewhere: The best of our best content from July 4 to July 8, 2011.

The House chamber below a mostly empty gallery during the final days of the special session on June 27, 2011.
The House chamber below a mostly empty gallery during the final days of the special session on June 27, 2011.

The End Game: Special Session Wraps Up Today

The House couldn't get the votes it needed to suspend the rules to take up the TSA anti-groping bill before the clock runs out today. That means lawmakers are poised to adjourn without tackling two of Gov. Rick Perry's priorities, the TSA bill and sanctuary cities. 

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed HB 274, which brings lawsuit reforms to Texas courts, including a loser pay system for frivolous lawsuits on May 30th,2011
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed HB 274, which brings lawsuit reforms to Texas courts, including a loser pay system for frivolous lawsuits on May 30th,2011

Texplainer: What About Bills Perry Won't Sign or Veto?

Hey Texplainer: What happens to the bills that Perry doesn't sign or veto? Gov. Rick Perry has vetoed and signed a multitude of bills this year, but to date there have been 27 he allowed to become law by default. By not signing a bill and allowing it to pass into law, a governor can walk the delicate line between defying the Lege and actually supporting the content of the bill in question.

The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.
The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.

20 Weeks in Texas in Which the Budget Held Sway

The 82nd Texas Legislature’s regular session ends as it started, with lawmakers arguing about a shrunken state budget and redistricting. With Republicans operating with a supermajority in the House and a commanding majority in the Senate, there was little doubt that the GOP would be able to impose its will. What was new was the power exerted by the Tea Party movement.

TribLive with State Rep. Myra Crownover (l), State Rep. Larry Taylor (c) and Sen. Tommy Williams (r).
TribLive with State Rep. Myra Crownover (l), State Rep. Larry Taylor (c) and Sen. Tommy Williams (r).

AUDIO: Crownover, Taylor and Williams at TribLive

At this morning's TribLive conversation, I interviewed three veteran lawmakers — state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Lake Dallas, state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands — about how they and their Republican colleagues fared this session.

Texas Democratic legislators (l to r) State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, at TriBLive on May 19, 2011.
Texas Democratic legislators (l to r) State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, at TriBLive on May 19, 2011.

TribLive: Three Veteran Dems on the 82nd Session

At Thursday's TribLive conversation, I interviewed three veteran lawmakers — state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio — about how they and their Democratic colleagues fared this session.

State Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Southlake,  debates from the back microphone in the Texas House on May 13, 2011.
State Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Southlake, debates from the back microphone in the Texas House on May 13, 2011.

Bills Die as Texas Legislative Session Winds Down

It’s easier to spike legislation than to pass it, and timing is important. Nothing is certainly dead until the session ends — that’s one reason the lobbies are full of supplicants and assassins this month. The system has 9,000 ways for zombies to get up and dance out of the legislative cemetery, and it happens all the time. That said, lots of important things are not done, and the regular session ends on Memorial Day.

Situation Normal

Texas Weekly

The House has blown its stack and made up again a couple of times since our last conversation, all within the rules, and all — if you take a long view of things —right on schedule. Senators, who had a group conniption fit last week, have remained clear to partly cloudy and calm.

House Democrats, including Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, at microphone, call a point of order on a "sanctuary cities" bill on May 6, 2011.
House Democrats, including Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, at microphone, call a point of order on a "sanctuary cities" bill on May 6, 2011.

Lawmaking That Looks Like a Schoolyard Fight

The problem with playground fights is that you usually remember who pushed you off the slide long after you’ve forgotten what you were fighting about. Legislative acrimony in Texas peaked over the last week, pretty much on schedule near the end of the 20-week regular session. It turns out you can do a lot of damage with nothing more than a rule book, which is hazardous in a place that often runs like a schoolyard: Conduct trumps content.