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 ...

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. 

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.

Is the Texas Legislature Raising Utility Rates?

Several bills working their way through the legislative process are likely to send Texans' utility bills up, consumer advocates say. But legislation that would make it easier for ratepayers to decide how to choose their electricity provider appears to be stalled.

More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.
More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.

Elderly, Disabled Fight Pay Cut to Service Providers

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Advocates for the elderly and disabled are fighting a proposal in the Legislature that they say would reduce the wages of the personal care attendants who provide services through the Medicaid Community-Based Alternatives waiver program. While the proposal was cut out of one bill Tuesday, the same language exists in a number of other bills, including the Senate version of the budget. 

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

Where Are Rick Perry's Emergency Items?

With fewer than five weeks left in the regular session, none of Gov. Rick Perry's emergency items — voter ID, sanctuary cities, sonograms for women getting abortions, a federal balanced budget amendment, and eminent domain protection — have made it to his desk. Perry's unfazed, however, and says there is plenty of time.

Interactive: Close the Texas Budget Shortfall

Texas lawmakers have six weeks left in the regular session, and their struggle with the state's tight 2012-13 budget is expected to take up much of that time and could even extend into a special session this summer. It's a hard job, and perhaps the best way to show you that is to let you decide for yourself how the $27 billion shortfall should be closed. Use our interactive budget shortfall app to see what you're willing to give up to close the gap.

Former Texas state representative Ellen Cohen, photographed in her Houston campaign offices.
Former Texas state representative Ellen Cohen, photographed in her Houston campaign offices.

From Lege to Council Race, Cohen Takes a "Step Closer"

When Ellen Cohen decided, two months after losing re-election to her state House seat, to run for Houston City Council, a friend worried, “Isn’t that a step down?” Cohen’s answer? “No, it’s a step closer.” Running for city council “is on a different scale, sure," Cohen said, "but the immediacy of being able to do something in the city you chose to move to is really appealing.”