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 ...

Analysis: Does "Voucher" Label Fit the Bill?

You can slow down or even kill a piece of legislation with a single word or phrase, if it's poisonous enough. One such loaded word is "voucher." Critics are using that term to describe a school scholarship proposal that has won the Senate's approval. But backers say the proposal is a tax credit and not the kind of voucher program that seems to merit automatic dismissal from lawmakers.

Texas A&M University System Regent Jim Schwertner and former Regent Richard Box participate in an interview for a new movie, produced by John Robison, that revisits the decision to move to the SEC.
Texas A&M University System Regent Jim Schwertner and former Regent Richard Box participate in an interview for a new movie, produced by John Robison, that revisits the decision to move to the SEC.

House Panel Debates Bills to Rein In Film Incentives

A Texas House committee Thursday considered a pair of bills taking aim at the state film incentives program — one would block state grants for films and video games containing adult content. Another would abolish the program altogether.

Sens. Lois Kolkhorst, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Jane Nelson, Charles Schwertner, Joan Huffman and Reps. Larry Gonzales, Sarah Davis, Sylvester Turner, John Otto and Trent Ashby make up the 2015 budget conference committee.
Sens. Lois Kolkhorst, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Jane Nelson, Charles Schwertner, Joan Huffman and Reps. Larry Gonzales, Sarah Davis, Sylvester Turner, John Otto and Trent Ashby make up the 2015 budget conference committee.

A Closer Look at Budget Conference Committee Members

The budget conference committee will hash out a compromise of the chamber’s respective 2016-17 budget plans. Committee members include two Democrats who rank as the most experienced budget negotiators on the panel.

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

A Look at the Priority Bills for Straus and Patrick

The House speaker and the lieutenant governor traditionally award the lowest bill numbers to measures they view as priorities. Here's an updated breakdown of House Bills 1-20 and Senate Bills 1-20, showing where House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are placing their priorities for the 84th legislative session.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during inaugural parade up Congress Ave. on January 20th, 2015
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during inaugural parade up Congress Ave. on January 20th, 2015

Grassroots Panel Creates Political Drama for Patrick

The panel of conservative activists that is advising Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is putting him in a tricky spot as he navigates leadership politics under the dome. The leader of the Grassroots Advisory Board says the panel has no plans to scale back its activities at the Capitol.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during Texas Public Policy Foundation's grand opening of new building on April 21st, 2015
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during Texas Public Policy Foundation's grand opening of new building on April 21st, 2015

Legislative Tensions Peak at Leadership Breakfast

A weekly leadership breakfast went sour Wednesday as the state's top three officials complained to one another about legislative packages and the tensions between a House and Senate that have just weeks left to complete their work.

State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, held an impromptu press conference to explain the postponement of his open carry bill after House Democrats raised a point of order on April 14, 2015.
State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, held an impromptu press conference to explain the postponement of his open carry bill after House Democrats raised a point of order on April 14, 2015.

After Misfire, House Republicans Reload Open Carry

After a bit of a Democratic gamesmanship shot down a major gun debate before it started, a measure that would allow gun owners with a concealed handgun license to carry their weapons openly in public is back on the House schedule Friday. Watch the House floor debate here.

House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel shows the rule book to a group of House members including Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, during a point of order called on HB 11 March 18, 2015.
House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel shows the rule book to a group of House members including Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, during a point of order called on HB 11 March 18, 2015.

Analysis: Winning and Losing Without Even Voting

Voting against legislation isn't the only way to kill it. Some of the most powerful tools available to Texas legislators are found in the dry pages of their parliamentary rulebooks.

A bowl of shark fin soup with crab meat at Ho Ho Chinese BBQ in Austin.
A bowl of shark fin soup with crab meat at Ho Ho Chinese BBQ in Austin.

Shark Fin Ban Back on the House Menu

A proposal to ban the trade of shark fins in Texas sailed through the Texas House on Wednesday, but it faces choppier waters ahead: the Texas Senate, where similar legislation foundered in 2013.

 

Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.
Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.

Bonnen's $4.9 Billion Tax Cut Plan Targets Sales Taxes

House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, laid out a $4.9 billion tax cut plan Wednesday featuring cuts in sales taxes and business taxes. The Senate's plan cuts business taxes and property taxes. And watch our livestream of the House floor debate on pre-K legislation here.

 

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.

Efforts to Divert Border Security Funding Mostly Fall Flat

House Democrats tried – and mostly failed – to divert funds allotted for border security and the Texas Department of Public Safety to other departments during Tuesday’s budget debate. But the rancor over immigration enforcement that many expected didn’t materialize after lawmakers agreed to pull down amendments.

 

House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More Than Money

The House is working on the budget, the only bill lawmakers have to pass. And that's why there are 354 proposed amendments: If you can get your idea attached to the only bill that has to pass, your chances get much better. Use our livestream to watch the House budget debate happening now.