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 ...

A Conversation with Rob Eissler

Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) answers an education question at TribLive on February 3, 2011
Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) answers an education question at TribLive on February 3, 2011

For our latest TribLive conversation, I sat down with the chairman of the House Public Education Committee to talk about the coming cuts to public ed: how big they're likely to be, the prospect of tens of thousands of teacher and non-instructional-staff layoffs, whether new revenue sources are on the table and more.

State Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, speaks with Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith at TribLive on Feb. 3, 2011.
State Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, speaks with Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith at TribLive on Feb. 3, 2011.

A Conversation with Rob Eissler

For our latest TribLive conversation, I sat down with the chairman of the House Public Education Committee to talk about the coming cuts to public ed: how big they're likely to be, the prospect of tens of thousands of teacher and non-instructional-staff layoffs and whether new revenue sources are on the table.

Texplainer: What is Chubbing?

If there's one thing that politicians are good at, it's talking. And chubbing is a kind of talking that's used to stall legislation in the Texas House. While state representatives do have the power to talk something to death, this session it will be harder to do than in the past.

Dan Neil at table with attorneys during a public hearing for the election contest of House D-48
Dan Neil at table with attorneys during a public hearing for the election contest of House D-48

Election Contest in HD-48 Begins

A Texas House investigation to determine the winner of the House District 48 race has begun.  Testimony is expected to last at least a couple of days.  Only 12 votes separate the election winner, Austin Democrat Donna Howard and her Republican challenger Dan Neil.  But Neil says the certified vote totals include illegal ballots while excluding several overseas votes.  That makes the goal for Neil very simple: show a gain of 12 votes.  Reporting for KUT News and the Texas Tribune Ben Philpott has more on Day One.

Dan Neil at table with attorneys during a public hearing for the election contest of House D-48
Dan Neil at table with attorneys during a public hearing for the election contest of House D-48

Testimony Under Way in HD-48 Fight [Updated]

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More than a dozen witnesses took the stand today to testify about where they lived and how they voted in the House District 48 contest in the November 2010 election.

Disputed Howard-Neil Contest Goes to the House

Travis County Republican Dan Neil lost his first race for elective office in November by just 16 votes. Having failed in that challenge to state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, he asked for a recount, and lost again, this time by 12 votes. Now, like other just-by-a-nose losers before him, he's appealing to the Texas House of Representatives in the hope that it will declare some of the voters in that election ineligible and put him in first place and Howard in second. But history does not offer Neil much hope. The proceedings start today. 

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.