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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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.
A voter casts a ballot in Travis County on November 2, 2010.
A voter casts a ballot in Travis County on November 2, 2010.

Election Night 2010: The Liveblog

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The Tribune's crack reporting staff — in Houston, Buda and other political hotspots — will be posting the latest news and spin the minute the polls close. Check back and refresh often for updates and photos from the field.

Things We're Thinking About Beyond Election Day

Yes, yes, the governor’s race: It’s tended to suck all the air out of the room this election cycle, hasn’t it? But there’s an undercard as well, and even if it’s received scant attention by comparison, don’t think it doesn’t matter. To the contrary, the outcome of races other than the one at the top of the ballot has serious implications for a great many matters of politics and policy that will affect and should interest every single Texan in the near term.

These freshmen state lawmakers are battling to hang onto their seats this fall.
These freshmen state lawmakers are battling to hang onto their seats this fall.

Freshman House Democrats Struggle to Hold Their Seats

Half a dozen Democratic House members first elected in 2008 face an important test this fall: Can they win re-election on their own merits, without the help of high turnout generated by a popular presidential candidate? Republicans believe the combination of the current anti-incumbent mood, the Obama backlash and the built-in advantage that the GOP enjoys in Texas spells doom for Dems up and down the ballot. But the freshmen playing defense point to a few factors working in their favor.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/20/10

Aguilar on Mexican journalists in grave danger, Galbraith on the continuing saga of Texas vs. the EPA, Ramshaw on whether a broken hospital bed constitutes medical malpractice, M. Smith on the latest delay in the Cameron Todd Willingham case, Hamilton interviews a Sarah Palin-approved GOP candidate for Congress, Stiles goes all interactive in chronicling the massive increase in legislative filings in the last 20 years, Grissom talks about the criminalization of mental illness with an author who knows the subject first-hand, Philpott on closing the budget gap without federal stimulus money, Ramsey on everyone ignoring down-ballot candidates, Hu on the mysterious lack of Rick Perry yard signs and yours truly sits down with the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor: The best of our best from September 20 to 24, 2010.

Texas Legislature Filing More Bills Than Ever

Legislative filings increased in the Texas House and Senate by 70 percent from 1991 to 2009, records show, and the number of bills and resolutions passed by both chambers climbed at a higher rate. Resolutions alone numbered about 4,000 last session, or more than half of all legislation. Explore our interactive graphics.

Steven Hardin's parents, photographed near his burial plot.
Steven Hardin's parents, photographed near his burial plot.

Murderer Freed on Probation Fails to Comply With Terms

Tow truck driver Steven Hardin was shot and killed in April 1998 by Houston firefighter Barry Crawford during a dispute over a parking space. At the end of a high-profile trial, a jury found Crawford guilty of first-degree murder but sentenced him only to probation. A judge required the convicted killer to comply with various terms, including the payment of child support to the victim's family, but he failed to do all he was ordered. Nonetheless, a few months ago, he was released from his probation, leaving Hardin's mother with no recourse but to lobby for a change in state law.