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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Projecting Success of Failing Students Often Wrong

Last school year, the Texas Education Agency implemented a new “growth measure” purported to reward schools for improving student performance — even if they still fail state tests. The effect on state accountability ratings was immediate and dramatic: The number of campuses considered “exemplary” by the state doubled, to 2,158. But a new analysis shows the projections of future student success may be wrong as much as half the time.

Division of Workers' Compensation Commissioner Rod Bordelon and the Sunset Advisory Commission, May 26, 2010.
Division of Workers' Compensation Commissioner Rod Bordelon and the Sunset Advisory Commission, May 26, 2010.

Sunset Commission to Vote on Workers' Comp Changes

Physician fraud investigators inside the troubled Division of Workers' Compensation say state examiners failed to uncover serious problems there — and then recommended changes that would take key decisions away from trained physicians and give them to bureaucrats.

State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving.
State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving.

Car Driven by N Texas Lawmaker Raises Ethics Questions

Tribune news partner WFAA-TV reports that state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, and her husband are driving cars owned by a highway contractor doing millions of dollars in business with the state. All the while, Harper-Brown sits on the influential House Transportation Committee.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 17, 2010

Thevenot on the ideological backbiting at the internationally famous State Board of Education; Stiles, Narioka and Hamilton plumb employee salary data in Texas colleges and universities; Grissom looks at the problem of insufficient indigent defense; Cervantes on the push for "veterans courts" emphasizing treatment and counseling over punishment; Aguilar finds border congressmen asking the governor for a fair break on federal homeland security dollars; M. Smith on another BP rig in the Gulf; Ramshaw reports on nurse practitioners trying to get permission slips from doctors; Hu follows up with lawmakers poking at whistleblower allegations of trouble in the state's workers' compensation regulation; Hamilton stops in on Luke Hayes and his efforts to turn Texas into a political powerhouse for Obama; and Ramsey writes on generation changes at the Capitol and on political pranksters: The best of our best from May 17 to 21, 2010.

An announcement board in an Austin unemployment office.
An announcement board in an Austin unemployment office.

TX Lawmakers continue fight over federal stimulus

Rick Perry made national headlines last year when he announced Texas was turning down unemployment insurance benefits available as part of the federal stimulus package. Attempts by state lawmakers to get their hands on the money anyway ran out of time at the end of the Legislative session, but as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the $555 million is still there for the taking.

Gayle Avant
Gayle Avant

Special Senate Election in Waco

On May 8, voters in Senate District 22 will choose one of these candidates as Kip Averitt's successor: a veteran lawmaker-turned-lobbyist in a bad year for that kind of hyphenate, a 9/11 Pentagon survivor with residency questions dangling over his campaign, a Tea-steeped nullification fan and ... a Democrat.

Texas Legislature Tries to Avoid Tax Increases

Every candidate vying for a legislative seat knows what lies ahead in 2011: a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion, probably higher, and state agency cuts to save as much of that amount as possible. But new revenue is a possibility as well, even if lawmakers are expert at the old sleight of hand, employing creative accounting and semantic trickery to avoid stepping on that political third rail, the tax hike.

Gerald "Buddy" Winn and Fred Brown
Gerald "Buddy" Winn and Fred Brown

Brown and Winn Compete for Bryan Seat

"The 2011 session is no time to test the learning curve a freshman member," says state Rep. Fred Brown, R-College Station. But former Brazos County Tax Assessor-Collector Gerald "Buddy" Winn thinks new leadership is precisely what this Central Texas House district needs — even if he's "not the shiniest penny in the pile."

Texas Legislature Reviews Texas Taxes

Lawmakers will find themselves in a multibillion-dollar ditch when they return to Austin in January 2011. Constitutionally, they can't write a deficit budget, so they're expected to use not just cuts but revenue raisers to keep the books in balance. Ben Philpott, who covers politics and public policy for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

A U.S. Census Bureau worker confirms addresses with a hand-held device.
A U.S. Census Bureau worker confirms addresses with a hand-held device.

U.S. Census Questionnaires Being Mailed Today

Census Bureau questionnaires arrive at 8.4 million Texas homes this week. "Fill that sucker out," the bureau's regional director says, "so we don't have to come and knock on your door."