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 ...

Texas Lawmakers Resort to Fighting Words

Texas lawmakers and citizens are out to protect their interests this session, especially as the Legislature deals with a massive budget shortfall. In the process, it appears they're ratcheting up their rhetoric. Do their fighting words represent politics as usual or a serious lapse in civil discourse? 

Texas Capitol on Feb 22nd.
Texas Capitol on Feb 22nd.

Texas Lawmakers Debate How to Curb School Bullying

More than 15 anti-bullying bills have been filed this session. But while the legislation is supported by teacher organizations and advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League, it has drawn opponents as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union and the archconservative Liberty Institute, who question how effective any new state law will be in curbing aggression in schools. 

State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler.
State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler.

State Rep. Leo Berman Leads Charge From Right

In 2009, state Rep. Leo Berman's bills — like the ones restricting illegal immigrants to certain geographical regions and denying them access to higher education — failed to gain traction in a House that was close to evenly divided. But with a Republican supermajority now in control, this could very well be the session of Leo.

Berman: "There Are 'Birthers' All Over Texas"

Rep. Leo Berman is sponsoring "birther" legislation that would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to produce their birth certificate to get on the Texas ballot. The conservative lawmaker's bill is fueled by his doubts President Barack Obama was born in the United States. We talk to his colleagues about whether the measure will pass the House — and if they agree with questions over the president's citizenship. 

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 68

This week's TribCast features Ross, Reeve, Ben and Emily discussing the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, the buzz about Medicaid, and concealed carry on college campuses.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 67

This week's episode of the TribCast features Evan, Ross, Ben and Matt going over the "super-majority" in the Texas House and how that could lead to federal court challenges, the coming Census numbers, the Howard/Neil election fight and the public ed budget battle.

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.