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 ...

What a Supermajority Means in the Texas House

State Rep. Allan Ritter
State Rep. Allan Ritter

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.
"Check your ticket" lottery machine in an Austin, TX gas station.
"Check your ticket" lottery machine in an Austin, TX gas station.

Critics Blast Lottery's Renewed Deal With GTECH

Citing performance issues and alleging a conflict of interest, critics blasted Friday's decision by the Texas Lottery Commission to renew a 10-year operations contract worth up to $1 billion with Rhode Island-based GTECH Corporation, the state’s primary lottery vendor since its 1992 inception.

Politics, Demographics Cost Waco Area Its Clout

It was a bad Election Night for residents of the largest city in McLennan County. After years of regional dominance, their congressional seat belongs to Bryan, halfway to Houston; their state senate seat is 86 miles away in Granbury; and one of their House seats has moved three counties east, to Centerville.

Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

Michael Quinn Sullivan: The TT Interview

The bomb-throwing president of Empower Texas and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility on why Joe Straus hasn't proved himself as a conservative, why the entry of outside groups like his own into the insiders' race for speaker is proper and what he'd like to see out of a Texas House with 99 GOP members in it.

Two Factions in the State's Majority Party

Now that the Republicans have a huge majority in the Texas House, they aren't sharing power with the Democrats; they're sharing power with themselves. More precisely, one faction of Republicans is sharing power with another faction of Republicans. However you label it — moderate vs. conservative, country club vs. country, Bush vs. Perry — it's bumpy.

Insiders on the Speaker Race and the 2/3rds Rule

For this week's installment of our non-scientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we asked two main questions: "Do you think Joe Straus will win another term as Speaker of the House next year, or do you think it will be someone else?" and "Should the Senate keep or abandon its practice of requiring approval from two-thirds of the senators before raising an issue for debate and approval?" And we asked an open-ended third: "How do you think the election outcomes will affect the legislative session ahead?"

Texas GOP Works to Remove Senate's Two-Thirds Rule

Whatever the size of their majority in the Texas House, Republicans in the Texas Senate have to contend with the rule requiring two-thirds of members to agree to bring a bill up for vote. That's 21 out of 31 — and there are only 19 Republicans in the upper chamber. As Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, some in the GOP want the rule changed.