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 ...

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.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 79

In this week's episode of the TribCast, Evan, Reeve, Julian and Ben discuss the meltdown in the House, the debate over sanctuary cities, and the latest in higher education.

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.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 76

In this week's jam-packed episode, Evan, Ross, Reeve and Ben discuss higher education reformers, data security at the Comptroller's office, redistricting, the budget, and birthdays.

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.”

State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (l), R-Killeen, and State Rep. John Otto (r), R-Dayton, wait to speak on HB4 supplemental house appropriations bill on March 31, 2011.
State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (l), R-Killeen, and State Rep. John Otto (r), R-Dayton, wait to speak on HB4 supplemental house appropriations bill on March 31, 2011.

Budget Fun: Guess the Signature

If the signatures of state representatives on the hundreds of amendments to HB1 are any indication, possession of legible handwriting is not a prereqisite for holding elective office. We've selected the 10 most indecipherable John Hancocks from the more than 370 amendments. See if you can identify each one. 

State GOP Freshmen Discuss Tea Party Influence

Thirty new GOP lawmakers took office this year, promising their constituents they'd cut the fat out of government. As the House prepares to vote on a slew of budget bills on Thursday and Friday, this freshman bloc is showing some clout. Many have vowed to not spend the remaining Rainy Day funds to close the next biennium's budget gap. Now that they're off the campaign trail and inside the Capitol, has their perspective changed? The Texas Tribune interviews Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, Rep. Raul Torres, R-Corpus Christi, and Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock. 

Capitol visitors pass through metal detectors.
Capitol visitors pass through metal detectors.

Geren's Capitol Access Pass Bill Gets Hearing

For those who frequent the Texas Capitol but don’t feel like sacrificing the time it takes to get a concealed handgun license, there may soon be a special pass allowing them to bypass the building’s metal detectors at Capitol entrances.

Inside Intelligence: Redistricting Will Be...

For the latest installment of our nonscientific survey of political and policy insiders, we asked whether the Legislature will finish its redistricting chores or will need help, whether Republicans will be able to ensure future super-majorities, and how lawmakers will split four new congressional seats between the political parties.

Paul Burka: The TT Interview

The senior executive editor of Texas Monthly on the biennial list of the Best and Worst Legislators, now coming together for the 20th time, on how he decides who's in and who's out, and on how this crop of lawmakers is shaping up.