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 ...

Texas Governor Rick Perry gestures as he speaks at the ceremonial bill signing of HB3727 regarding property tax evaluations of aircraft at the Boeing facility in San Antonio on June 23, 2011.
Texas Governor Rick Perry gestures as he speaks at the ceremonial bill signing of HB3727 regarding property tax evaluations of aircraft at the Boeing facility in San Antonio on June 23, 2011.

The Midday Brief: Top Texas Headlines for June 27, 2011

Your afternoon reading: Sanctuary cities bill isn't dead; UT System and former adviser Rick O'Donnell reach settlement; House passes health reform bill; George Will says Rick Perry is a "potentially potent candidate"; debating how much credit Perry deserves for jobs creation; TSA removes 95-year-old woman's diaper

Castro To Take On Doggett for New Congressional Seat

The Legislature drew U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett a bad map again this year, so the veteran Democrat will run in the new CD-35 instead. But getting through March’s Democratic primary could be a doozy: Doggett will face State Rep. Joaquin Castro, a 36-year-old rising star in his party who has politics in his DNA, and grew up in one of the San Antonio neighborhoods central to the new district.

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed HB 274, which brings lawsuit reforms to Texas courts, including a loser pay system for frivolous lawsuits on May 30th,2011
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed HB 274, which brings lawsuit reforms to Texas courts, including a loser pay system for frivolous lawsuits on May 30th,2011

Texplainer: What About Bills Perry Won't Sign or Veto?

Hey Texplainer: What happens to the bills that Perry doesn't sign or veto? Gov. Rick Perry has vetoed and signed a multitude of bills this year, but to date there have been 27 he allowed to become law by default. By not signing a bill and allowing it to pass into law, a governor can walk the delicate line between defying the Lege and actually supporting the content of the bill in question.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 85

This week on the TribCast, Ross, Reeve, Thanh, and Ben talk about vetoes, groping, and the imminent end of the special session.

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The Weekly TribCast: Episode 84

On this week's episode, Reeve, Julian, Morgan, and Jim discuss Texas Monthly's list of the best and worst legislators, education and immigration in the special session, and Gov. Rick Perry's still-hypothetical presidential bid.

Texplainer: Can a Veto Be Overturned After Sine Die?

Hey Texplainer: Can the Lege override the governor's veto of legislation passed in the regular session — once the regular session is over? The governor says no, and he's probably correct. But it's murky. Two expert opinions offer somewhat conflicting views. What they do agree on this: Should lawmakers override the governor's recent veto of the online tax bill, the issue would almost certainly end up in court. 

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, during her filibuster at the end of the the 82nd legislature on Sunday, June 3, 2011. The action, in opposition to $4 billion in cuts to education, tipped lawmakers into an immediate special session.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, during her filibuster at the end of the the 82nd legislature on Sunday, June 3, 2011. The action, in opposition to $4 billion in cuts to education, tipped lawmakers into an immediate special session.

Filibuster Propels Wendy Davis Into Spotlight

Sen. Wendy Davis' controversial decision to torpedo the legislative session with a filibuster has catapulted the Fort Worth Democrat into the spotlight. She's seized it to try to mobilize outnumbered Democrats and to take jabs a Gov. Rick Perry’s rumored presidential aspirations.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 82

In this week's episode, Evan, Ross, Reeve and Ben, talk about the end of the regular session, the start of the special session, and what it all means for Sen. Wendy Davis, Gov. Rick Perry, and others.

Video: Perry, Straus, Dewhurst Press Conference

Gov. Rick Perry, House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst joined forces Tuesday to reflect on the regular legislative session that ended on Monday. "If all we do is hold the line on taxes and balance the budget with cuts, that's a pretty amazing accomplishment," Perry said, before addressing questions about the special session and deflecting a question about whether he thinks he can beat President Barack Obama. Watch our raw video from the 13-minute press conference. 

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, stands with state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, on May 25, 2011, as Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs HB 3000, a bill increasing the penalties on human trafficking.
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, stands with state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, on May 25, 2011, as Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs HB 3000, a bill increasing the penalties on human trafficking.

Is There a Boys Club Under the Pink Dome?

The flap in the House and Senate this week over a political flyer showing an infant nursing at a bare breast has rekindled an age-old discussion: Is there sexism in the Texas Capitol? One lawmaker says her amendments and questions get a "far more hostile" reception than those of her colleagues. Another says women are treated as equals — and that politics is just a blood sport.

 

Michael Quinn Sullivan
Michael Quinn Sullivan

Conservative "Outsiders" Have Inside Track in Texas

His nickname around the Texas Capitol is "mucus." It’s a play on Michael Quinn Sullivan’s initials — MQS — but the moniker is fitting on at least two levels: It underscores how much of an irritant the conservative activist has become to politicians who dare buck his Tea Party orthodoxy. It also says something about Sullivan’s staying power in Republican-ruled Texas. They can’t get rid of him.

 

Talk show host and activist Alex Jones screams to the crowd outside the Senate gallery after being denied entrance during a rowdy protest of HB1937 the 'anti-groping' legislation on May 25, 2011.
Talk show host and activist Alex Jones screams to the crowd outside the Senate gallery after being denied entrance during a rowdy protest of HB1937 the 'anti-groping' legislation on May 25, 2011.

Radio Host Storms Texas Capitol Over TSA Bill

Notorious radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones led a raucous protest at the Capitol Wednesday over the Legislature's failure to pass a bill criminalizing invasive airport pat downs. "Every one of [those senators] is an enemy of the Republic and the Republic of Texas!" he bellowed. 

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 81

On this week's episode, Evan, Ross, Reeve and Ben talk about the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune polls, continuing speculation about Gov. Rick Perry's presidential plans and the end of the legislative session.

A Tea Party rally at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 16, 2009.
A Tea Party rally at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 16, 2009.

For Tea Party, a Successful Legislative Session

The ideological partnership of the raucous Tea Party movement and fiscally conservative Texas Republicans has dominated the agenda of the state lawmaking session that is sputtering to an end. Gov. Rick Perry embraced the Tea Party ideals before most knew the movement was brewing, and the conservative, anti-tax activism helped bring a supermajority of Republicans into the Texas House.

Guest Column: My Texas Legislature in a Box

Call it the Justin Timberlake Treatment: For several reasons — the governor's strengthened executive powers and his alliance with a network of political organizations, the Republicans' ability to demonize President Obama and the federal government, the power of the Tea Party movement and the sclerotic response of Texas Democrats — the Legislature finds itself boxed in as it searches for a way out of the budget divide.

Inside Intelligence: Come Election Time...

Texas Weekly

For the latest installment of our unscientific survey of political and policy insiders, we asked about politics — whether Barack Obama will do as well in Texas in 2012 as in 2008, whether Republicans can lose a statewide election, whether any top officeholders are in danger, and which issues in the Legislature will become issues in the elections, for better and for worse.