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 ...

In Legislature, Fresh Faces and an Experience Deficit

The next version of the Texas Legislature will have an unusual number of new lawmakers and a temporary deficit in legislative experience. One of every five members of the House is leaving voluntarily. Some others could be defeated in next month's primary or the November general election. Change is constant in politics, but not on this scale.

Capitol nurse practitioner Tim Flynn performs a routine check-up on state Rep. Warren Chisum on April 11, 2012.
Capitol nurse practitioner Tim Flynn performs a routine check-up on state Rep. Warren Chisum on April 11, 2012.

Texas Capitol Nurse Has Served 3 Administrations

When state employees have headaches, or when children on school trips to the Capitol fall down, they go to Tim Flynn, who has served as the Capitol's nurse since 1992. “After being here 20 years, I know most of the folks that work here," Flynn said. "This is my community. That’s why I call it my Capitol."

The chamber of the Texas House
The chamber of the Texas House

Lawmaker Job Has Lousy Pay, but Great Benefits

The pay for Texas lawmakers is low, but the pension benefits are sweet. Lawmakers are guaranteed pensions after serving eight years, and the amount is based on the salary paid to state district judges. Some say that lawmakers who are convicted of felonies should have to forfeit their pensions, which they don't have to do under current law.

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams announces U.S. Senate candidacy at TribLive on January 27, 2011.
Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams announces U.S. Senate candidacy at TribLive on January 27, 2011.

Campaign Chatter

Texas Weekly

The filings are in, the candidates are raising money and looking for support. It is finally primary season in Texas.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/26/11

Aaronson interactively maps Texas Medicaid providers, Aguilar talks legalization with the head of the Drug Policy Alliance, Galbraith on farmers watering what they know won't grow, Grisson sits down with exoneree Michael Morton, Hamilton on the elusive $10,000 college degree, Murphy et al. update the 2012 election brackets, Ramsey on Bill Ratliff's frank budget analysis, Ramshaw on a hospital where the overweight need not apply, Root on Joe Straus' primary opponent and Tan rounds up reactions to the Supreme Court's health care hearings: The best of our best content from March 26-30, 2012.

Texplainer: When Can Texans Use Deadly Force in Self-Defense?

The death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has put expansive self-defense laws like Florida's into focus. What does Texas law say about using deadly force in self-defense? Do you have to retreat first? Texas passed a bill in 2007 that removed the duty to retreat for people who are attacked, as long as they have the right to be at where the force is used.

Texas Gets a D+ in Public Integrity Study

Texas scored a 68 out of 100, coming in at 27th place in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.

Group Aims to Bring God Into Politics

God and Country, a new Texas-based organization, will hold a rally Saturday at a Tyler church to “draw a line in the sand and aggressively and publicly defend those certain unalienable rights endowed by our creator.”

The Humane Society of the United States is working with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Carolina Tiger Rescue, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation and Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary to rescue 11 exotic animals from the Collins Zoo.
The Humane Society of the United States is working with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Carolina Tiger Rescue, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation and Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary to rescue 11 exotic animals from the Collins Zoo.

Humane Society Wants Tougher Exotic Pet Rules in Texas

Texas is one of 13 states that allow people to own exotic animals as pets  as long as they're registered with local animal control. Many states are moving toward banning owning exotic animals, but some animal owners believe they have the knowledge and resources to raise exotic animals and will fight to keep them.

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his stump speech during an early morning campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, on Oct. 8, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his stump speech during an early morning campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, on Oct. 8, 2011.

Yeah, He Lost, But...

Texas Weekly

Rick Perry is still the Republican governor of a strongly Republican state. He controls the executive branch, maintains strong ties with business, has relatively weak opponents, and has run circles around the media.

Gov. Rick Perry at his last campaign stop of 2011 in Boone, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry at his last campaign stop of 2011 in Boone, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 2011.

The Morning After: Perry Returns from the Trail

Texas Weekly

When the Legislature decamped from Austin in July, there was a sense of order in Texas politics. And yet, as Rick Perry returns a mere seven months later, conditions on the ground in Texas border on the chaotic.

Gov. Rick Perry at his last campaign stop of 2011 in Boone, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry at his last campaign stop of 2011 in Boone, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 2011.

Rick Perry Returns to Texas, and to Texas Politics

The underlying fundamentals that buttressed Gov. Rick Perry's political power in the state are not much changed, and they suggest that he will reassert his powerful presence in Texas politics now that he is back. His relationship with voters may be in a rut, but when it comes to the legislators, business interests and interest groups who practice politics every day, he still holds sway.

Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin TX - March 13th 2011.
Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin TX - March 13th 2011.

Texas Policy Group Working to Shape 2013 Session

The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation today wrapped up its annual legislative primer, which has become a must-attend for state Republican leaders. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on how the group is already working to influence next year's legislative session.