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 ...

Farm to Table Caucus Advances Local Food Movement

Glenn Foore planting cabbage on Springdale Farm, Austin, Tex. on September 11, 2012
Glenn Foore planting cabbage on Springdale Farm, Austin, Tex. on September 11, 2012

A Democrat from Austin is finding common ground with Republicans and rural Texans. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and the rest of the Farm to Table Caucus are hoping to reduce barriers to local, healthy food. The first caucus of its kind in the nation, the bipartisan group aims to reduce obesity and the health problems it brings.

Firemen look for hot spots along Texas Highway 21 on September 13, 2011 after last week's devastating wildfires.
Firemen look for hot spots along Texas Highway 21 on September 13, 2011 after last week's devastating wildfires.

Lawmakers Hear Plea for More Fire Department Funding

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With the threat of wildfires still looming, firefighters across the state are facing critical funding shortages, state legislators were told at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday.

Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, at the "How to Pay for Public Education" panel at The Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 24th 2011.
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, at the "How to Pay for Public Education" panel at The Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 24th 2011.

Senate Hearing Tackles Vouchers, School Choice

In a preview of a likely battle in the upcoming legislative session, state lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee on Friday heard testimony on school choice programs, including vouchers that would allow students to use public money to attend private schools. 

State Rep. Charlie Geren, the head of the House Administration Committee, wrote a letter to his fellow House members saying that they were "under no legal obligation"to accommodate a Texas Tribune request to submit three years of tax returns.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, the head of the House Administration Committee, wrote a letter to his fellow House members saying that they were "under no legal obligation"to accommodate a Texas Tribune request to submit three years of tax returns.

With Transparency, There's Room to Improve

Lawmakers say they want transparency and that the public should be able to see their finances. But state disclosure requirements allow officeholders and candidates to report their financial interests vaguely enough to hide their interests.

Interactive Map: Texas House Committees in 82nd Session

Texas Weekly

Use this interactive to explore the geographic distribution of committee members in the Texas House, by committee, to see who's got what clout on what subject. Choose a committee and the map highlights the district of each member and, in a different color, the home districts of the chairs, vice chairs and co-chairs.

Turnover Provides Leaders With a Political Tool

It's great to have experienced leaders on hand to help run the Legislature. But it's also great — at least from a leader's perspective — to have some openings to offer to potential supporters. With at least nine committee chairs leaving the House and four leaving the Senate, there are some goodies to hand out.

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 18, a piece of eminent domain legislation, on May 23, 2011, beside state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-River Oaks.
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 18, a piece of eminent domain legislation, on May 23, 2011, beside state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-River Oaks.

Campaign Chatter

Texas Weekly

The endorsements just keep on rolling in... 

Interactive: 82nd Session Interest Group Scorecards

Texas Weekly

With the May 29 elections rapidly approaching, the candidates are out in force and so are the groups that want to share their views of the candidates with you. Here's a sampling of scorecards from some of the prominent interest groups, including the Texas Conservative Roundtable, Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life.

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.