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 ...

A young girl plays outside her home in the Pueblo de Palmas colonia near Mission, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2013.
A young girl plays outside her home in the Pueblo de Palmas colonia near Mission, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2013.

State Waits for Directions to Declassify Colonias

The state has worked for decades to halt the proliferation of colonias, but it has no way to declassify communities that have outgrown the colonia description. The secretary of state's Colonia Initiatives Program has asked lawmakers for help, but no legislation has been filed so far, and it is unclear whether it will even be addressed.

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on Inside Texas Politics on Feb. 22, 2015.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on Inside Texas Politics on Feb. 22, 2015.

Inside Texas Politics: Gay Marriage and Immigration

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, talk turns to some state Republicans' rhetoric after recent gay marriage and immigration rulings — will their celebrations now make them seem out of touch in the future?

State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.
State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.

Analysis: The "GOP" Strikes Back

State Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, is on his way to the Texas Senate, thanks in part to the "gringos y otros pendejos" derided last summer by his opponent and House colleague, Trey Martinez Fischer.

Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

In State of the State, Abbott Proposes Sweeping Agenda

UPDATED: Gov. Greg Abbott, delivering his first major policy address to the Texas Legislature Tuesday, laid out an ambitious agenda for the next two years, including an expansion of pre-kindergarten, massive tax cuts and roads as far as the traffic-glazed eye can see.

 

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar releases the revenue estimate on Jan. 12, 2015 to reporters and state officials the day before the legislative session.
State Comptroller Glenn Hegar releases the revenue estimate on Jan. 12, 2015 to reporters and state officials the day before the legislative session.

Hegar Suggests Shift in Rainy Day Fund Strategy

Comptroller Glenn Hegar is urging lawmakers to consider allowing his office to invest a portion of the Rainy Day Fund more aggressively, arguing that a greater return is worth the greater risk with the savings account.

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics" on Feb. 8y, 2014.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics" on Feb. 8y, 2014.

Inside Texas Politics: "Crazy State"

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics with host Jason Whitely, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy and Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey: a widely-shared video in which a Florida congressman calls Texas a "crazy state."

Gov. Rick Perry delivers a farewell speech to a joint session of the Texas House and Senate on Jan. 15, 2015.
Gov. Rick Perry delivers a farewell speech to a joint session of the Texas House and Senate on Jan. 15, 2015.

Analysis: Raising Money for Politics the Indirect Way

State officeholders cannot raise money for their own campaigns during legislative sessions, but they can ask supporters to back their favorite charities, or even the political parties that support them during election season. 

The Playlist: Thursday

There was no shortage of news coming out of the Capitol this week, but last Thursday was so singular that we built our entire playlist around the events of that day. Kicking things off: Wes Montgomery’s cover of “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles.

State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.
State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.

Nelson Emphasizes Property Tax Relief in Senate Budget

Nearly two weeks after the House's base budget was released, Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson presented the Senate's plan, which she said sets aside $3 billion for "meaningful" property tax relief for Texas homeowners.

Texas Capitol
Texas Capitol

Analysis: It's Not Bribery Unless They Say It's Bribery

It's a bribe when a lobbyist gives a public official something of value in exchange for a decision or a vote or some other official act. But there's an exception in Texas law when that official is a Texas legislator and the lobbyist reports the spending. In some cases, lobbyists don't even have to name the legislator who got the benefit.

Analysis: Legislators' Expenses and Schmoozing, Linked

The session stipends for legislators are set to rise, and because of a loophole in Texas law, that would mean lobbyists could spend more on legislators without saying whom they are wining and dining. Lobbyists must still report expenses. But they don't have to name the legislators they entertained — unless they exceed a threshold.

State of Mind: Finding a Way to Cover the Uninsured

Texas hospitals want state lawmakers to find a way for the state to draw down billions in federal Affordable Care Act dollars to cover the uninsured and alleviate the burden on local taxpayers. Health officials hope the Legislature looks at a program in San Antonio that they say has the makings of a Texas solution. This is the third video in our eight-part State of Mind series.