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 ...

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

What Happened to Straus' and Patrick's Priority Bills?

Over the course of this year's legislative session, House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made their priorities known by what bills got the lowest bill numbers. The chambers' priority bills touched on some of the most contentious issues of the session. Take a look at how those proposals fared.

A couple arranges a marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's office on June 26, 2015.
A couple arranges a marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's office on June 26, 2015.

Benefits Should Follow Same-Sex Marriages

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling establishing the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, public employers are now figuring out how and when spouses of married gay employees will start receiving benefits.

Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB #2065 into law on June 11, 2015 joined by Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and authors of the bill Sen. Craig Estes R-Wichita Falls and Rep. Scott Sanford R-McKinney
Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB #2065 into law on June 11, 2015 joined by Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and authors of the bill Sen. Craig Estes R-Wichita Falls and Rep. Scott Sanford R-McKinney

Abbott Signs "Pastor Protection Act" Into Law

Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed a bill Thursday that allows clergy members to refuse to conduct marriages that violate their beliefs, said that "pastors now have the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights."

 

House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

Residency Requirement for Statewide Elected Officials Could Change

Statewide elected officials would no longer be required to live in Austin under a constitutional amendment that could be headed to voters on a general election ballot. The House tentatively backed the measure on Monday.

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, lays out Senate Bill 7 in the Texas House on June 27, 2011. The measure passed, 96-48.
State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, lays out Senate Bill 7 in the Texas House on June 27, 2011. The measure passed, 96-48.

House Votes to Keep Free Tuition for Some Veterans' Kids

At the last minute, the House voted to scrap changes to the Hazlewood program that would have made many children of veterans ineligible for free tuition. The bill will still need to be reconciled with the Senate's more restrictive version. 

 

Former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is shown in 2011.
Former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is shown in 2011.

Former State Rep. Leo Berman Dies at 79

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Tributes poured in this weekend from Texas conservatives and Democrats alike for former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, whose death was announced Saturday on the Texas House floor. He served in the House from 1999 to 2013. 

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

The Texas Senate on Friday voted to beef up the state’s underfunded retirement system for state employees by adding about $440 million to the program, a plan that has received mixed reviews from state employee advocacy groups.