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 ...

Bills Die as Texas Legislative Session Winds Down

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.

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.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 79

In this week's episode of the TribCast, Evan, Reeve, Julian and Ben discuss the meltdown in the House, the debate over sanctuary cities, and the latest in higher education.

Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, asks the Senate to adopt the conference committee report on voter ID legislation on May 9, 2011.
Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, asks the Senate to adopt the conference committee report on voter ID legislation on May 9, 2011.

Senate Adopts Voter ID Report

The state Senate today approved a conference committee report on the voter identification bill that includes changes that would allow citizens to use a new form of documentation to cast their ballots.

House Appropriations Committee chairman, State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie (r), listens to debate on HB1 conferee's instructions on May 6, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee chairman, State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie (r), listens to debate on HB1 conferee's instructions on May 6, 2011.

House Sets Budget Negotiating Rules

The House is sending its five budget conferees — Reps. Jim Pitts, John Otto, Sylvester Turner, John Zerwas and Myra Crownover — off to negotiate with the Senate, but they want to tie their hands on certain issues, instructing them on what's acceptable to add, subtract, or leave alone when they talk with the other side.

Rep. Senfronia Thompson (r), D-Houston, talks to Rep. Mike Hamilton during the local and consent calendar on April 26, 2011.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson (r), D-Houston, talks to Rep. Mike Hamilton during the local and consent calendar on April 26, 2011.

Puppies, and the Legislative Power of Distraction

It’s tense at the Texas Capitol. It’s May — the last month of the session. Deadlines are arriving daily. Bills are dying. Legislative wish lists are drying up and blowing away. Time is precious, and big issues — the state budget, legislative and congressional redistricting, most of the governor’s self-styled emergency items, to name a few — remain unresolved. Blame the puppies.

Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, attempts to get votes to suspend the rules on CSSB1580 a Senate spending bill on April 28, 2011.
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, attempts to get votes to suspend the rules on CSSB1580 a Senate spending bill on April 28, 2011.

Why Texas House Won't Agree to Senate Budget

It might not matter, in the end, whether the Senate wants to use some of the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget. The House isn’t likely to go along unless the proposition is delivered on a tea cart pushed by Gov. Rick Perry and third-party conservative groups who have been hounding lawmakers to hold the line.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Apr. 25, 2011

Aguilar and Weber on a subdued debate over homeland security, Galbraith on rising concern about natural gas drilling, Grissom on a controversial psychologist, Hamilton on the aftermath of the Rick O'Donnell episode, Philpott on the comptroller's apology, Ramshaw with more on the statewide database of child abusers, E. Smith interviews Lance Armstrong, M. Smith on what House budget cuts would mean for school districts, M. Stiles on how redistricting would change things for each House member, Tan on the Senate's wobbly attempts to approve a budget and my interview with David Dewhurst: The best of our best content from April 25 to 29, 2011.

Representatives Mike Villarreal (l), D-San Antonio, Ruth Jones McClendon (c), D-San Antonio, and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, criticize Republican Senators and Gov. Rick Perry for an inadequate effort on April 28, 2011.
Representatives Mike Villarreal (l), D-San Antonio, Ruth Jones McClendon (c), D-San Antonio, and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, criticize Republican Senators and Gov. Rick Perry for an inadequate effort on April 28, 2011.

House Democrats Applaud Senate's Budget Delay

House Democrats are applauding the Senate's delay in taking up what they call a “woefully inadequate” appropriations bill.

Texas House to Consider Redistricting Maps

Texas state representatives will choose their voters today — grabbing the ones they want, ditching the ones they don't — as the decennial drawing of political maps reaches the floor of the House. They'll start with a map approved last week by the Republican-dominated Redistricting Committee, and then consider dozens of alternatives during the debate.

House: Foster Kids Must Get Records Faster

Responding to a Texas Tribune article about young adults who age out of foster care being denied their records, House lawmakers passed a bill today to require the prompt release of case files following a child's discharge from foster care.  

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

House Tentatively Passes Eminent Domain

Another bill on Gov. Rick Perry's emergency items list — eminent domain — tentatively passed in the House today, and it could further curb the government's right to take private property.