Tribpedia: Texas Legislature

Tribpedia

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.  

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House Speaker Joe Straus (l) faces a challenge from Frisco state Rep. Scott Turner
House Speaker Joe Straus (l) faces a challenge from Frisco state Rep. Scott Turner

New Pledges Likely to Keep Straus in Speaker Post

Twelve more Republican House members publicly pledged their support for House Speaker Joe Straus Tuesday, making the path to victory for challenger Scott Turner exceedingly difficult. Turner has said he plans to continue his campaign until a vote is held Jan. 13, the first day of the legislative session. 

Glenn Hegar, who was elected state comptroller in November 2014, is shown at the State Republican Convention on June 6, 2014.
Glenn Hegar, who was elected state comptroller in November 2014, is shown at the State Republican Convention on June 6, 2014.

Hegar Resigns Senate Seat; Dec. 6 Special Election Set

State Sen. Glenn Hegar sent a letter to Gov. Rick Perry Friday resigning his Senate seat as of Dec. 5. The Katy Republican will be sworn in as comptroller in January. A Dec. 6 special election for his seat was announced later Friday.

Speaker Joe Straus walks toward the House on Jan. 8, 2013, the opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature.
Speaker Joe Straus walks toward the House on Jan. 8, 2013, the opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature.

Five Pre-Session Questions

Texas Weekly

With the midterm elections now in the rearview mirror, transition time is upon us. Between now and Jan. 13 when the gavel falls on the opening of the 84th Legislature, here are some questions to keep in mind.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who was elected Texas governor, waves to supporters after his victory speech in Austin on Nov. 4, 2014.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, who was elected Texas governor, waves to supporters after his victory speech in Austin on Nov. 4, 2014.

Analysis: Blue Hopes Drowned by a Sea of Red

Texas voters reasserted themselves in the face of ballyhooed Democratic voter turnout efforts: This remains — emphatically — a Republican state. The GOP swept the statewide executive and judicial offices, as it has in every election since 1994, and gained one seat in the state Senate and three in the state House. 

Travis County residents line up to vote at Austin's Highland Mall on Nov. 4, 2014.
Travis County residents line up to vote at Austin's Highland Mall on Nov. 4, 2014.

Liveblog: 2014 General Election Results

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Throughout the night, our liveblog will keep you updated on the results of general election battles statewide, from the first early voting totals through the last ballots counted, from local legislative races to the governor's race.

 

 

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on Nov. 2, 2014.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on Nov. 2, 2014.

Inside Texas Politics: Election Preview

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics with host Jason Whitely, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy and Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey offer an Election Day preview. 

A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.
A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.

Analysis: Getting Legislative Permission to Do Business

When lawmakers are not working on all of the things you hear about — budgets, education, immigration and so on — they are often refereeing fights between businesses. And some of next year's battles are already shaping up, forcing lawmakers to debate sales of liquor, sales of new cars, and who is allowed to answer when you're looking for a ride. 

House Speaker Joe Straus is shown on Sept. 20, 2014, during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.
House Speaker Joe Straus is shown on Sept. 20, 2014, during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.

Analysis: For Straus, Division Might Be Strength

House Speaker Joe Straus, seeking a fourth term at the helm of the chamber, is facing a challenge from state Rep. Scott Turner. If Straus prevails, he could gain an advantage in setting the agenda for the next legislative session. Everybody else in management — the governor and the lieutenant governor — will be new on the job. 

Freshman Samantha Salas (center) hangs out with friends before going to class on the first day of school on Aug. 25, 2014, at South Texas College's Pecan Campus in McAllen.
Freshman Samantha Salas (center) hangs out with friends before going to class on the first day of school on Aug. 25, 2014, at South Texas College's Pecan Campus in McAllen.

Momentum for Four-Year Degrees at Community Colleges

Ahead of the 2015 legislative session, momentum seems to be building for more chances to earn four-year degrees at community colleges in Texas. Certain bachelor's degrees are already offered at South Texas CollegeMidland College and Brazosport College.

Education Commissioner Michael Williams, a former railroad commissioner, is shown at a TribLive event on Jan. 27, 2011.
Education Commissioner Michael Williams, a former railroad commissioner, is shown at a TribLive event on Jan. 27, 2011.

Education Commissioner: "The System Needs to Catch Up"

UPDATED: Asked why the state had delayed a transition away from lower passing standards on state exams, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told state lawmakers Tuesday that classroom instruction had failed to meet the rigor demanded by the new tests. 

University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall talks with colleague Gene Powell during a break at a regents' meeting  on May 14, 2014.
University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall talks with colleague Gene Powell during a break at a regents' meeting on May 14, 2014.

The Brief: Hall Censured in Historic Vote

Wallace Hall's future at the University of Texas System turned clearer Monday night: lawmakers scolded the embattled regent but decided to keep him around — for now, at least.

 

State Rep. Dan Flynn (right), R-Van, talks to state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, on Oct. 23, 2013. Van is co-chair of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, whose members include Fischer.
State Rep. Dan Flynn (right), R-Van, talks to state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, on Oct. 23, 2013. Van is co-chair of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, whose members include Fischer.

Transparency Committee Votes to Censure UT Regent Hall

UPDATED: In a 6-1 vote Monday, the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations voted to censure University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall. The committee’s investigation of Hall has focused mostly on his personal investigations of the University of Texas at Austin administration. In a statement, Hall said, "The committee's findings are based on distortions, untruths and intentional misrepresentations."

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.

Committee "Very Close" to Consensus on Wallace Hall

After a lengthy hearing on Wednesday, a co-chair of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations said members were "very close" to reaching a consensus on what to do about UT Regent Wallace Hall.