Tribpedia: Texas House

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Analysis: A Lot of Races, But Not as Much Drama

A voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin is shown in November 2013.
A voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin is shown in November 2013.

With fewer than 10 weeks left until Election Day, almost all of the Texas races for Congress and the Legislature are all but over. Just a handful of competitive races — one each in the congressional delegation and the state Senate and fewer than a dozen in the House —  remain. 

A Scott Turner at the Texas GOP state convention in Fort Worth Texas, June 5, 2014
A Scott Turner at the Texas GOP state convention in Fort Worth Texas, June 5, 2014

A Longshot for Speaker, With Money to Spend

Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, has not been in the Texas House for two years, but the freshman lawmaker and former California congressional candidate has his eye on the top job there: speaker. He is short of the votes he needs, but has plenty of money with which to pursue them.

Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, in legislative action at the Texas Capitol during the 83rd Legislative Session in the spring and summer of 2013.
Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, in legislative action at the Texas Capitol during the 83rd Legislative Session in the spring and summer of 2013.

Analysis: Is That Any Way to Attract Gringos?

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, speaking at the Texas Democratic Party convention on Friday night, referred to the GOP as "Gringos y Otros Pendejos." The line drew gasps and laughter from the audience and sputtering anger from conservatives on social media.

State Rep. Doug Miller (c, at mike)R-New Braunfels, speaks on SB341 a San Antonio water district bill as Jim Keffer (l), R-Granbury and Bill Callegari (r) R-Houston, listen on Saturday May 21, 2011.
State Rep. Doug Miller (c, at mike)R-New Braunfels, speaks on SB341 a San Antonio water district bill as Jim Keffer (l), R-Granbury and Bill Callegari (r) R-Houston, listen on Saturday May 21, 2011.

Callegari Won't Seek Re-election in 2014

Katy Republican Bill Callegari said Monday he won't seek another term in the Texas House, bringing to 12 the number of state representatives who won't be up for re-election in 2014.

Group of House members gather around the back mic before vote on supplemental bill  HB 10 which ultimately cleared the House on February 21st, 2013
Group of House members gather around the back mic before vote on supplemental bill HB 10 which ultimately cleared the House on February 21st, 2013

Outsiders Have Something in Common — Squeaky Wheels

State Reps. Jonathan Stickland and Trey Martinez Fischer don't have a lot in common ideologically, but they have at least one similarity: Their use of the House's rear podium as a platform when they're outnumbered or ignored.

Texas Governor Rick Perry ceremonially signed House Bill 4, which lays the foundation for Texas' future water needs. He is joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay on May 28, 2013
Texas Governor Rick Perry ceremonially signed House Bill 4, which lays the foundation for Texas' future water needs. He is joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay on May 28, 2013

Perry Hails Water Bill, is Evasive on His Future

Gov. Rick Perry signed a major water infrastructure bill into law on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters afterward, he remained coy about his political future and wouldn't say if he will add any items to the special session agenda.

News App: Updated House Bill Tracker

Another major House deadline has passed, ending that chamber's consideration of major legislation filed by its own members. We've updated our House Bill tracker, showing which bills stalled in committee and which ones stalled in the full House. Some  proposals could resurface as amendments to other bills, but it will become harder to pass legislation before the session ends.

Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, speaks during budget bill SB1 discussion on March 20th, 2013
Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, speaks during budget bill SB1 discussion on March 20th, 2013

Senate Approves New High School Graduation Plan

The Senate version of House Bill 5, which it approved Monday, still allows students to complete diplomas in specialized areas, or "endorsements." But it changes the courses required to graduate under those endorsements.

House Debate Over Water Bill Could Spur Bigger Fight

A bill that would draw $2 billion for water projects from the Rainy Day Fund is set to hit the House floor Monday afternoon. The debate could turn to focus on what it means to be a fiscal conservative in the Tea Party era. As some conservative activists are urging supporters to express opposition to the bill, Gov. Rick Perry has voiced his support for the measure.

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.

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.

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.

In his Jan. 29, 2103, 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, 2103, 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.