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 ...

Texas Lawmakers File Far-Ranging Immigrant Bills

The voter ID legislation passed by the Texas Senate on Wednesday night may be controversial, but it’s a familiar debate, as is the issue of “sanctuary cities.” Less well known but no less controversial are many of the provisions found in more than three dozen immigration-related bills filed so far. Some Hispanic Republicans in the Texas House say they are not going to support bills they believe are too extreme. 

Texplainer: Why Are Bills Read Aloud?

Back in the day, not all public officials could read, so clerks would read the bills aloud in the House and Senate. We're reasonably confident they all can read now, but the clerks keep the tradition alive.

State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, lays out House Bill 1.
State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, lays out House Bill 1.

More a Call to Arms Than a Budget

Whatever budget lawmakers eventually approve will serve as the working blueprint for the state for the two years starting in September. But the budget released last week isn’t a blueprint — it’s a political document. It marks the shift from the theoretical rhetoric of the campaigns to the reality of government.

Appropriations Chair Warns of State Employee Cuts

In our TribLive conversation this morning, state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, spoke frankly about the certainty that state employees would be cut as part of the Legislature's solution to the budget shortfall — and he said furloughs for employees who aren't cut may be ordered as well.

House Speaker Joe  Straus, R-Alamo Heights, in January 2011.
House Speaker Joe Straus, R-Alamo Heights, in January 2011.

Texas Legislature Returns to Austin

The Texas Legislature today starts its 140-day effort to puzzle out a massive budget deficit, political redistricting, immigration and a slew of other gnarly problems. The budget issues came into focus Monday with new numbers from the comptroller, who says the state is recovering, slowly, from the recession. But first, legislators will get organized, voting on new rules, a new Speaker, and getting sworn in.

Insiders on the Next Speaker and Running the House

For the year's first installment of our nonscientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we asked whether Joe Straus would win another term as speaker, whether the next speaker should share power with the Democrats when doling out committee chairmanships and other assignments and whether the Republican Caucus is the right forum for picking the leader of the House.

Members of the freshmen class of 2011 at their new member orientation in December 2010.
Members of the freshmen class of 2011 at their new member orientation in December 2010.

Freshmen Will Make Up a Quarter of the New House

The biggest caucus in the Texas House is the Republicans', now with 101 members. Next? The Democrats', at 49. And then there’s the freshman class — one of the biggest in years — with 38 members. All but six are Republicans, and many of them replaced Democrats. They face some challenges.

Questions That'll Be Answered in 2011

Texas alternates election years with governing years, with legislative sessions set in the odd-numbered years after voters choose their leaders. There are variations, but it’s got a rhythm: Choose them, watch them govern, choose, watch. The elections behind us, it’s time to see what this particular bunch will do.

Political Faces of 2010

2010 didn't turn out like it looked a year ago. Unexpected people showed up. The political environment bloomed red instead of blue. The Tea was strong. And big shots turned into paper tigers. Here are some of the political personalities who mattered.

Electoral Power is about Voting, Not Population

Lawmakers will spend the next six months drawing political maps for Texas, doing their decennial readjustment to make sure each district has the same number of people. But when they’re done, some parts of the state will still get more political attention than others, and the voters have only themselves to blame.