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 House Speaker Joe Straus listened to a Jan. 13, 2015, speech by a fellow member nominating him for another term as speaker.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus listened to a Jan. 13, 2015, speech by a fellow member nominating him for another term as speaker.

Analysis: Winning by Packing the Ballot

It should come as no surprise when political plotters and schemers try to pack a primary election to force an incumbent into a runoff. Their hope is that the runoff's greater concentration of partisan voters will be harder on the incumbents.

TribFest 2014 Joe Straus interview with Ross Ramsey
Conversation San Antonio event on May12th, 2014 with Speaker of the House John Boehner
Credit: Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera
TribFest 2014 Joe Straus interview with Ross Ramsey Conversation San Antonio event on May12th, 2014 with Speaker of the House John Boehner Credit: Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Analysis: Dancing With Those Who Brung Ya

Splitting the majority party in the House of Representatives leaves a potential speaker with two routes to the top. Lawmakers did it one way in Texas and another way in Washington, D.C. Right now, the Texas way seems to function better.

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, being escorted out of a House Transportation Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, on April 30, 2015.
State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, being escorted out of a House Transportation Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, on April 30, 2015.

Analysis: Citizen Feedback, Without the Road Trip

After a committee confrontation and a state police investigation, there's still a question about allowing people who aren't in the Capitol to register their support or opposition to legislation: Why not?

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott

Legislature Questions Abbott's Budget Vetoes

Some of Gov. Greg Abbott’s line-item vetoes in the state budget might be invalid, the state’s Legislative Budget Board said in a letter sent Tuesday to Texas Comptroller Glenn HegarThe director of the LBB said the governor’s veto proclamation, listing line items he chose to excise from the new budget, doesn’t have the effect Abbott apparently intended.

Early voting at the Acres Home Multiservice Center in Houston on Oct. 26, 2014.
Early voting at the Acres Home Multiservice Center in Houston on Oct. 26, 2014.

Analysis: The Center Did Not Hold

Middle ground is arguably the most dangerous turf for a Texas lawmaker to occupy these days, and new research shows that none are doing it. The gap between moderate Republican and Democratic lawmakers is growing.

Texas House Appropriations Chairman John Otto, R-Dayton, looks at his computer while state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, stands nearby on June 1, 2015.
Texas House Appropriations Chairman John Otto, R-Dayton, looks at his computer while state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, stands nearby on June 1, 2015.

Analysis: Legislature Losing Some Key Players

It will be more than a year before we know everyone who is and is not coming back to the Texas Legislature, but the trickle has started, and some big players are leaving the field. 

House Speaker Joe Straus (left) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
House Speaker Joe Straus (left) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

What Happened to Straus' and Patrick's Priority Bills?

Over the course of this year's legislative session, House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made their priorities known by what bills got the lowest bill numbers. The chambers' priority bills touched on some of the most contentious issues of the session. Take a look at how those proposals fared.

Speaker Joe Straus during June 9, 2015 Tribune Conversation
Speaker Joe Straus during June 9, 2015 Tribune Conversation

Straus: A Cautious, Conservative Session

In a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, House Speaker Joe Straus touted the new state budget, franchise tax cuts and the Legislature’s slow but steady pace this year. He said he wasn't surprised by the failure of ethics reform legislation and said a controversial union dues bill was plagued by "the poorest job of lobbying" he'd seen.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.

Analysis: Taking Stock of the Ethics Session

The governor asked lawmakers to put ethics reform at center stage this year. They filed bills. They even voted in favor of some strong restrictions on lobbyists' and officeholders' official behavior. But most of it never got to Greg Abbott's desk.

State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, shows off his Sine Die tie on the last day of the 84th Legislative session on June 1, 2015.
State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, shows off his Sine Die tie on the last day of the 84th Legislative session on June 1, 2015.

Analysis: A Conservative but Complicated Legislature

Voters sent a conservative pack of lawmakers to Austin and got conservative results. But it's more complicated than that. Issues that might have seemed black and white during the elections were rendered in shades of gray during the session.