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 ...

A Look at the Priority Bills for Straus and Patrick

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

Dawn Carlton is pushing for a series of bills this legislative session to change the way court-appointed guardians are used in Texas.
Dawn Carlton is pushing for a series of bills this legislative session to change the way court-appointed guardians are used in Texas.

Guardianship Reform Could Offer New Freedoms

Dawn Carlton is intellectually disabled, but she says she manages fine on her own. She is pushing changes in the way court-appointed guardians are used in Texas. Tens of thousands of Texas adults with disabilities have legal guardians who make decisions about how their money is spent and where they live.

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.

Newly sworn in, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick watch the inaugural parade up Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas on January 20, 2015.
Newly sworn in, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick watch the inaugural parade up Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas on January 20, 2015.

Patrick Advisers Blast Pre-K Plans Pushed by Abbott

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's grassroots advisers are blasting Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to enhance pre-kindergarten programs, a move sure to increase tension between the top two Republican leaders. Patrick said in an emailed statement that the letter was unsolicited and "expresses the individual viewpoints of Texas citizens."

State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.
State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.

Ethics Legislation Headed to Senate Floor

A heavily watered-down ethics reform bill will soon be taken up by the full Senate. Lawmakers on Monday rejected an amendment that would have required legislators to publicly disclose their tax returns each year.

 

 

Politicians Pick New Way to Get Prosecuted

State politicians, high court judges and top bureaucrats would get public corruption cases against them moved to their home counties under a controversial bill that cleared the Texas House on Monday, prompting complaints that the Legislature is attempting to rig the game in favor of the politically connected. 

 

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.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014

DPS Chief: Resume Border Security Contract Inquiry

he Texas Department of Public Safety's commander-in-chief fired off a letter Thursday to the head of the state's anti-corruption unit asking that a halted probe into its $20 million no-bid  border security contracts awarded to Abrams Learning and Information Systems, to proceed to clear the agency's name.

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.

Analysis: A Senate Trying to Regulate Its Own Spending

The Texas Senate wants to limit growth in the state budget — by adding a fifth spending limit to state law. In addition to the current limit commonly referred to as the state's spending cap, there are also limits on issuing debt, on certain assistance grants and on spending more than what lawmakers have.

House Public Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, on the floor during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Public Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, on the floor during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

School Finance Plan Praised in Capitol Hearing

A plan to overhaul the state’s public education funding system from a top House lawmaker received largely favorable reviews from school districts during a marathon legislative hearing that ended late Tuesday night.

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, lays out the property tax relief portion of Senate Bill 1 for final passage in the Senate on March 25, 2015.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, lays out the property tax relief portion of Senate Bill 1 for final passage in the Senate on March 25, 2015.

Texas Senate Approves $211 Billion Budget

Senators on Tuesday voted 30-1 to approve the state's two-year budget plan. Now, attention will turn to reconciling differences with the House on budget issues involving taxes, border security and the Texas Racing Commission.

State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, speaks during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on April 9, 2015.
State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, speaks during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on April 9, 2015.

Analysis: Something More Conservative Than Tax Cuts?

As the House and Senate engage in what state Sen. Kevin Eltife calls "a bidding war" over cuts to sales and property taxes, the Tyler Republican is sticking to his guns: He thinks lawmakers should look at neglected projects before they cut taxes.