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 passing bills and resolutions.

The House meets biennially for 140-day sessions and in special sessions when called by the governor. Members are elected in even-numbered years for two-year terms. (See Texas Legislature topic page for qualifications to run for the House.)

Executive powers of each house include selection of legislative officers, employees and chairs and members of committees. Investigative powers are exercised through the formation of standing, special, interim and joint committees to study an issue. House committees are usually charged with a particular purpose by the speaker, although this may also be accomplished by a resolution adopted by the House. Each legislative house holds judicial powers over its members, including punishing or expelling members for cause.

The House speaker is elected biennially at the beginning of each legislative session by the 150 members of the House. It is a powerful position because the speaker appoints customarily appoints standing, special and conference committees, although the House is free to designate its own method of selection.

All legislative sessions, except for the Senate's executive session, are open. Neither house may, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days or move to a place other than where the Legislature is sitting. Two-thirds of each house constitutes a quorum, the number of members required to conduct business. If a quorum is not present, a smaller number may vote to adjourn and compel absent members to attend. The House is required to keep and publish a journal of its proceedings and to record the vote on any question on which three members who are present demand an actual count of yeas and nays.

The House maintains more standing committees than the Senate. As of 2009, the House had 34 standing committees:

  • Agriculture and Livestock
  • Appropriations
  • Border and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Business and Industry
  • Calendars
  • Corrections
  • County Affairs
  • Criminal Jurisprudence
  • Culture, Recreation and Tourism
  • Defense and Veterans' Affairs
  • Elections
  • Energy Resources
  • Environmental Regulation
  • General Investigating and Ethics
  • Higher Education
  • House Administration
  • Human Services
  • Insurance
  • Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence
  • Land and Resource Management
  • Licensing and Administrative Procedures
  • Local and Consent Calendars
  • Natural Resources
  • Pensions, Investments and Financial Services
  • Public Education
  • Public Health
  • Public Safety
  • Redistricting
  • Rules and Resolutions
  • State Affairs
  • Technology, Economic Development and Workforce
  • Transportation
  • Urban Affairs
  • Ways and Means

Sources include the Texas House of Representatives Committees' Web page: http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/welcome.htm

Images

Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, shown here with the Washington Redskins, played professional football from 1995-2004.
State Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, speaking at the RedState Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas on August 8, 2014.