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 ...

Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, listens during a debate over Senate Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.
Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, listens during a debate over Senate Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.

Birdwell Asks AG to Clarify Where Colleges Can Ban Handguns

In an apparent effort to shut down talk of banning guns in college classrooms, state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, has asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to clarify where universities can prohibit handguns with the state's campus carry law goes into effect Aug. 1. 

Governor Perry delivers a final speech to a joint session of the Texas legislature on Jan. 15, 2015.
Governor Perry delivers a final speech to a joint session of the Texas legislature on Jan. 15, 2015.

Texas Gets a D- in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

  • 112Comments

Texas ranked 38th out of 50 in the latest State Integrity Investigation, a national assessment of government accountability and transparency. That suggests that the nation’s second-largest state may be heading in the wrong direction when it comes to ethics and other measures of government integrity.

Gov. Greg Abbott is shown in November 2015 proposing reforms against "sanctuary cities" that he wants Texas lawmakers to consider in the 2017 legislative session.
Gov. Greg Abbott is shown in November 2015 proposing reforms against "sanctuary cities" that he wants Texas lawmakers to consider in the 2017 legislative session.

Lawmakers Support Abbott Against "Sanctuary Cities"

A majority of lawmakers in both the Texas House and Senate back Gov. Greg Abbott's recent moves to rein in "sanctuary cities" that don't comply fully with federal immigration policies, a Tribune tally shows.

State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, on the House floor, May 7, 2015.
State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, on the House floor, May 7, 2015.

Cook Re-election Bid Already Rancorous

Protestors, police citations, dog poop. The race is young, but state Rep. Byron Cook's re-election bid promises to be noisy and messy as conservative activists target him for defeat. The Corsicana Republican faces a primary challenge from 25-year-old fruitcake scion.

The 2015 Texas Tribune Festival's keynote sessions included one-on-one conversations with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (clockwise, from top left), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. There was also a panel discussion on the 2016 presidential race.
The 2015 Texas Tribune Festival's keynote sessions included one-on-one conversations with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (clockwise, from top left), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. There was also a panel discussion on the 2016 presidential race.

2015 Tribune Festival: Videos of the Keynote Sessions

During the keynote sessions of the 2015 Texas Tribune Festival, we featured one-on-one conversations with Dan PatrickJoe Straus, Nancy Pelosi and Julián Castro. You can watch those interviews and videos of our other keynote sessions here.

On Nov. 3, Texas voters will be asked to consider Proposition 7, a constitutional amendment created to address the state’s growing transportation needs. This photo shows traffic in Dallas.
On Nov. 3, Texas voters will be asked to consider Proposition 7, a constitutional amendment created to address the state’s growing transportation needs. This photo shows traffic in Dallas.

Texans to Decide on Transportation Funding with Prop 7

As Texas' transportation needs multiply, voters in the rapidly growing state will be asked Nov. 3 to consider a way to pay for those needs. Under Prop. 7, the state comptroller would direct some of the taxes collected on car sales to the State Highway Fund, which is used to maintain and construct public roadways and bridges.

Texans Decide on 7 Constitutional Amendments Nov. 3

On Nov. 3, Texas voters will consider whether to add another seven amendments to the hundreds already in the state constitution. The topics of the proposed amendments range from increasing property tax exemptions to repealing a requirement that state officials must live in Austin to protecting the right to hunt and fish.

God & Governing: How Faith Guides the Texas Legislature

In the 2015 Texas legislative session, state lawmakers weren't shy about using their religious beliefs to defend their policymaking. Check out "God & Governing," our documentary-style series on the role lawmakers' personal faith played in legislation on abortion, gun rights, same-sex marriage and public education. 

Jack Stick, former chief counsel of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, sits inside a Travis County courtroom during his 2015 trial for a 2012 DWI arrest.
Jack Stick, former chief counsel of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, sits inside a Travis County courtroom during his 2015 trial for a 2012 DWI arrest.

Ex-Lawmaker Stick Gets Six Days in Jail for Drunken Driving

A Travis County judge on Friday sentenced former state representative Jack Stick to six days in jail and a 90-day driver's license suspension for driving while intoxicated, according to prosecutors.

Travis County District Attorney's office in Austin, Texas.
Travis County District Attorney's office in Austin, Texas.

Travis County Can't Stop Privately Funded Prosecutions

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt blasted the funding deal that allows a giant insurance company to pay for criminal prosecutions of its fraud cases, but said Tuesday that the Commissioners Court is powerless to stop it. That leaves the matter in the hands of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

The Texas Supreme Court convenes in the House chamber for a special ceremony on November 11, 2013.
The Texas Supreme Court convenes in the House chamber for a special ceremony on November 11, 2013.

Analysis: Education Funding With a Judicial Assist

The Texas Supreme Court is about to hear the latest challenge to the state's financing of public schools. Maybe they'll throw it out, but history says otherwise: This almost always means changes in school policy and increases in taxes.