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.  

It enacts thousands of ...

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Texas Is "On the Brink," Legislative Study Group Says

Texas' superlatives are nothing to brag about, according to the fifth edition of "Texas on the Brink," an annual review that ranks the state on dozens of factors ranging from health insurance to voter turnout. Despite having the highest birth rate, Texas has the worst rate of women with health insurance. While the state has the second-highest public school enrollment, it ranks last in the percentage of people 25 and older with a high school diploma. And though Texas has the highest percent of its population without health insurance, the state is 49th in per capita spending on Medicaid.

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

Can Texas Lege Overrule Perry on Education Money?

 

Gov. Rick Perry has said he can't sign an application to recieve money from the federal government's $10 billion Education Jobs Fund because it requires him to make an assurance he cannot constitutionally make: that the Legislature will not use the money to offset state funding of public education programs. Now that it's in session and setting the 2012-13 budget, can lawmakers overrule the governor and accept the money? The short answer is no. 

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.

Texas Democrats Blame Republicans for Budget Blues

Texas governors have limited control over what the state budget ultimately looks like. They can veto items in the final budget and, as Gov. Rick Perry did Tuesday, use the bully pulpit of the State of the State address to lay out priorities. Perry's speech was part pep rally, part budget proposal, with a dash of national politics. And, as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, Democrats weren't charmed.

Insiders on Voter ID and Other Emergency Issues

For the latest installment of our nonscientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we asked whether voter fraud is a policy issue or a political one, what should and shouldn't be on the governor's list of emergency items for the Legislature, how those designations should be used and whether the Legislature ought to be allowed to set its own early priorities.

Gov. Rick Perry as the keynote speaker at The Annual Texas Rally for Life at the Capitol on  January 22, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry as the keynote speaker at The Annual Texas Rally for Life at the Capitol on January 22, 2011.

Why Put These Issues on the Emergency List?

Abortion politics is back on center stage, with Gov. Rick Perry putting it, voter photo ID, state support for a balanced federal budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, eminent domain and a ban on sanctuary cities at the top of his list of priorities. Why?

Texas University Chancellors Brace for Budget Cuts

Every chancellor of a university system in Texas knows — down to the exact, excruciatingly precise percentage point — how much worse higher education fared than other agencies when their current budgets were cut. With the state facing a massive budget shortfall in the next biennium, the chancellors know they're in for another round. But this time they're adamant that they not bear a disproportionate share of the pain.

Details of Budget Proposals Begin to Seep Out

The Legislature's starting budget will apparently include proposals to cancel popular back-to-school sales tax holidays, cut discounts for retailers who remit sales taxes early, allow sales of liquor on Sundays to increase revenue from taxes on alcohol, cut the state's subsidy of dependent insurance premiums for state employees and lower the tax breaks for energy companies that take on certain high-cost gas drilling projects, sources say.