Tribpedia: Texas Legislature

Tribpedia

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.  

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Defying National Trend, Texas Clings to Biennial Legislature

Come January, as Texas lawmakers begin work to pass bills and tackle the yawning budget gap, they will go up against a simple but implacable barrier: time. Texas is one of a dwindling number of states whose legislatures hold scheduled meetings only every two years. Just three other, far smaller states — Montana, North Dakota and Nevada — still have biennial legislative sessions. Lawmakers differ on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, especially for budgeting. Regardless, Texas seems unlikely to change anytime soon.

U.S. Airforce conduct search and rescue - Galveston Island, Texas, after Hurricane Ike Sept. 13.
U.S. Airforce conduct search and rescue - Galveston Island, Texas, after Hurricane Ike Sept. 13.

Joint Panel Searching for Fixes to Windstorm Coverage

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association offers homeowners along the Texas coast their only coverage against potential hurricanes. But some lawmakers say the pool is paying out too much — and they want to limit what sort of coverage it offers in the future.

What Do Texas Democrats Do Now — and Who'll Lead Them?

Six weeks after the drubbing their party took at the hands of voters, surviving Texas House Democrats find themselves at a crossroads — on style and substance, politics and policy. With massive budget cuts looming, will they effectively sit out the session and force Republicans in the majority to have all the blood on their hands? Will they participate just enough to soften the blow in the areas they care about the most: education and health care? Can they hold together a solid 51-vote bloc on key legislation? Where exactly should they go from here? And who will lead them?

State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.
State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

Endangered at the Lege: White Democratic Women

The force of the GOP wave in November was so strong that black Republicans and Latino Republicans outnumber the Texas House's new endangered species: the white Democratic woman. And if the 16-vote victory of state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, doesn't survive a recount, the species will be extinct.

Debbie Irvine Discusses Texas Legislative Council

The newly christened executive director of the Texas Legislative Council on how the upcoming legislative session is going to be difficult, how technology has changed her job, whether redistricting maps can get drawn and agreed upon by June and how she keep politics from impacting her job.

Bush, Perry Tension Renewed as Governor's Star Rises

To the list of things that Rick Perry shows contempt for — Barack Obama’s leadership abilities, excessive federal regulation, coyotes that interrupt his morning jog — add this surprising one: George W. Bush’s ideological disposition. The governor seems to go out of his way to criticize his predecessor as insufficiently conservative. Bush, for his part, makes no mention of Perry in his memoir. "There's certainly no love lost between these two men," says UT presidential scholar Bruce Buchanan.

Two Factions in the State's Majority Party

Now that the Republicans have a huge majority in the Texas House, they aren't sharing power with the Democrats; they're sharing power with themselves. More precisely, one faction of Republicans is sharing power with another faction of Republicans. However you label it — moderate vs. conservative, country club vs. country, Bush vs. Perry — it's bumpy.

Insiders on the Speaker Race and the 2/3rds Rule

For this week's installment of our non-scientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we asked two main questions: "Do you think Joe Straus will win another term as Speaker of the House next year, or do you think it will be someone else?" and "Should the Senate keep or abandon its practice of requiring approval from two-thirds of the senators before raising an issue for debate and approval?" And we asked an open-ended third: "How do you think the election outcomes will affect the legislative session ahead?"

TX GOP works to remove Senate 2/3rds rule

Last week's election left the Republican Party, already in the majority, with an unprecedented advantage in the Texas House. But as Ben Philpott reports for KUT News and the Texas Tribune, even that new advantage isn't enough to guarantee passage of key legislation.