Tribpedia: Texas House of Representatives

Tribpedia

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 ...

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The Love-Hate Relationship With Transparency

Texas Weekly

One Texan's transparency is another’s right to privacy, and people in politics generally find it easier to demand openness than to provide it. “They all say they want transparency,” said freshman Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. “And in the same breath that they say they’re for transparency, they’re talking about how to remove it.” 

House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.
House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.

Straus Picks Lead Budget Negotiators

The House sent five members to negotiate a budget with the Senate Monday, with instructions to avoid anything that looks like it would expand the state's Medicaid program. 

Gov. Rick Perry announces a 5 percent cut in the Texas franchise tax for small business on April 15, 2013. In the background are Rep. Harvey Hildebran, R-Kerrville, Gary Farmer of the Austin Chamber and MIke Morrissey of the governor's staff.
Gov. Rick Perry announces a 5 percent cut in the Texas franchise tax for small business on April 15, 2013. In the background are Rep. Harvey Hildebran, R-Kerrville, Gary Farmer of the Austin Chamber and MIke Morrissey of the governor's staff.

Perry Surprises by Urging House to Bust Spending Cap

UPDATE: Gov. Rick Perry told House Republicans in a private meeting this week that he could support a budget that breaks the state's constitutional spending cap, according to several attendees. But many are still wary of doing so.

January 14th, 2013: Senator John Whitmire D-Houston smiles as fellow Senators praise his 40 years in the Texas legislature
January 14th, 2013: Senator John Whitmire D-Houston smiles as fellow Senators praise his 40 years in the Texas legislature

A Rumor of Peace

Texas Weekly

It’s a little funny to talk to people at the Capitol who have been steeled in a culture of political warfare about the outbreak of peace. Many differences remain, but those blood veins that were sticking out on everyone’s foreheads and necks in 2009 and 2011 have smoothed out. For the moment, Texas civics is downright civil.

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, explains an education funding amendment to SB 1 the budget bill during debate on April 4, 2013.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, explains an education funding amendment to SB 1 the budget bill during debate on April 4, 2013.

A House Less Susceptible to Political Stampedes

In 2011, state lawmakers fresh from a Tea Party election surge were hypersensitive to the opinions of and instructions from conservative activists. But as Thursday's House budget debate showed, this session isn't quite the same.

Rep. Ron Simmons R-Carrollton and Rep. Oscar Longoria D-Mission show off their purple ties on Purple Thursday at the Texas Capitol.
Rep. Ron Simmons R-Carrollton and Rep. Oscar Longoria D-Mission show off their purple ties on Purple Thursday at the Texas Capitol.

Freshman Lawmakers Seek Common "Purple" Ground

The freshmen in the Texas House wear something purple every Thursday as a symbol of their willingness to compromise across the aisle. Now that the bill-filing deadline has passed, it's time to identify which issues are negotiable.

Interactive: The Texas Weekly Index

Going by the Texas Weekly Index, which is based on the results of contested statewide elections over the 2010 and 2012 political cycles, the state's most conservative districts are in the Panhandle. The most liberal districts are in urban areas. Use this interactive to see charts that illustrate the political climate of each district.

Gov. Rick Perry meets with senior staff members at his office in the state Capitol on Jan. 9, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry meets with senior staff members at his office in the state Capitol on Jan. 9, 2013.

Former Rick Perry Aide Got $162,500 Bonus

Days before she became Gov. Rick Perry's chief of staff, Ann Bishop was paid a $162,500 bonus from the Employees Retirement System, records show. The bonus paid to Bishop, already the highest paid executive officer in a state aagency, provoked outrage from two lawmakers.

House members huddle at dais on February 14th, 2013
House members huddle at dais on February 14th, 2013

First Impressions

Texas Weekly

The Texas House is about to hold its first debate, and on a spending bill, to boot. It will pass, because it must. But watch how they work.

House Committee to Focus on Criminal Code

Last week, House Speaker Joe Straus appointed a committee to examine the state's Code of Criminal Procedure, which was last overhauled in 1965. Though the move sparked surprise among committee members and relevant interest groups, they all agree the code is long overdue for revisions, which could take several years to complete.

House Speaker Joe Straus gavels out the ceremonial first session of the Texas House 83rd Session on January 8, 2013
House Speaker Joe Straus gavels out the ceremonial first session of the Texas House 83rd Session on January 8, 2013

Updated: Straus Offers Details on Transparency Panel

Updated: House Speaker Joe Straus says a new Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations will delve into the finances, compensation packages and public-private partnerships across state government — including the judicial branch and boards and commissions. 

 

In his Jan. 29, 2013, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.
In his Jan. 29, 2013, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.

Perry Talks Water, Tax Relief in State of the State

In his seventh State of the State address, Gov. Rick Perry ignored a number of controversial issues and urged state lawmakers to do the nitty gritty work of government: fund water projects, build more roads, improve education and make the budget more transparent.