Tribpedia: Texas Legislature

The Texas Legislature is the chief policymaking branch of state government that the Texas Constitution (Article III, Section 1) vests with all legislative power in the state. It is a bicameral body composed of an upper chamber, the Texas Senate, and a lower chamber, the Texas House. The 181 members are elected from districts throughout Texas.  

It enacts thousands of ...

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.
E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.

House Committee Considers E-Cigarette Ban for Minors

The House Public Health Committee on Tuesday discussed five bills that would extend current restrictions on tobacco products to vapor products like e-cigarettes. The Senate passed similar legislation last week.

Analysis: A Sales Tax Cut, If Anybody Wants It

A little-noticed bill filed on deadline by the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee could hold the session's biggest tax cut, but only if the House and Senate decide to cut taxes on sales instead of property. The Senate has already signaled its preference for a property tax cut, but the debate is just getting started.

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 a breakdown of House Bills 1-20 and Senate Bills 1-20, providing a window into where House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are placing their political capital for the 84th legislative session.

Republican State Reps.  Byron Cook (l), R-Corsicana, Burt Solomons (c), R-Carrollton, and Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order on HB12 sanctuary cities bill on May 6, 2011.
Republican State Reps. Byron Cook (l), R-Corsicana, Burt Solomons (c), R-Carrollton, and Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order on HB12 sanctuary cities bill on May 6, 2011.

Gay Rights Activists Find Unlikely Ally in Republican

Corsicana Republican state Rep. Byron Cook, who has an adopted child, says both same-sex adoptive parents should be listed on a Texas birth certificate. He believes it's best for the children, though it puts him at odds with his party's stance on gay rights issues.

New Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller does a fist pump on election night Nov. 4, 2014.
New Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller does a fist pump on election night Nov. 4, 2014.

Sid Miller Clashes With Legislature Over Budget

Recent episodes — including a parking kerfuffle and a request to leave the House floor — highlight a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the cowboy hat-wearing agriculture commissioner and the Legislature that once counted Sid Miller as one of its own. 

Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston during the Senate Committee on State Affairs as they listen to testimony relating to guns on campus and open carry on February 12th, 2015
Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston during the Senate Committee on State Affairs as they listen to testimony relating to guns on campus and open carry on February 12th, 2015

Bill Moving Integrity Unit to AG Office is Senate-Bound

A measure that would yank the state's public corruption-fighting unit out of the Travis County district attorney's office and stick it in the Texas attorney general's office is headed for the full Senate. 

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took part in an interview with The Texas Tribune on March 12, 2015.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took part in an interview with The Texas Tribune on March 12, 2015.

Analysis: When Local Control is Remote

A big, central government wants to override laws approved by the people in the provinces. That might sound like the federal government bossing states around, but it's the Texas Legislature trying to rein in the cities and counties.

Students in Pre-K teacher Josefina Pineda's class sing to practice their language skills at the Dallas Independent School District Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.
Students in Pre-K teacher Josefina Pineda's class sing to practice their language skills at the Dallas Independent School District Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.

Talk Turns to Standards as Lawmakers Weigh Pre-K Bills

As legislators considered several early education bills Tuesday afternoon, testimony was dominated by a debate over what standards school districts should meet to get additional state funding for pre-kindergarten programs.

 

Analysis: Making the Worst of a Good Situation

Texas legislators have an unfamiliar problem: They have more money available to spend than their self-imposed limits will allow. And it's enough to start debates even where there is broad agreement — over which taxes to cut, how many people it takes to secure the border and which items on the state's wish list should be first. 

A young girl plays outside her home in the Pueblo de Palmas colonia near Mission, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2013.
A young girl plays outside her home in the Pueblo de Palmas colonia near Mission, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2013.

State Waits for Directions to Declassify Colonias

The state has worked for decades to halt the proliferation of colonias, but it has no way to declassify communities that have outgrown the colonia description. The secretary of state's Colonia Initiatives Program has asked lawmakers for help, but no legislation has been filed so far, and it is unclear whether it will even be addressed.

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on Inside Texas Politics on Feb. 22, 2015.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on Inside Texas Politics on Feb. 22, 2015.

Inside Texas Politics: Gay Marriage and Immigration

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, talk turns to some state Republicans' rhetoric after recent gay marriage and immigration rulings — will their celebrations now make them seem out of touch in the future?

State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.
State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.

Analysis: The "GOP" Strikes Back

State Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, is on his way to the Texas Senate, thanks in part to the "gringos y otros pendejos" derided last summer by his opponent and House colleague, Trey Martinez Fischer.

Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

In State of the State, Abbott Proposes Sweeping Agenda

UPDATED: Gov. Greg Abbott, delivering his first major policy address to the Texas Legislature Tuesday, laid out an ambitious agenda for the next two years, including an expansion of pre-kindergarten, massive tax cuts and roads as far as the traffic-glazed eye can see.