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 ...

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.

Efforts to Divert Border Security Funding Mostly Fall Flat

House Democrats tried – and mostly failed – to divert funds allotted for border security and the Texas Department of Public Safety to other departments during Tuesday’s budget debate. But the rancor over immigration enforcement that many expected didn’t materialize after lawmakers agreed to pull down amendments.

 

House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More Than Money

The House is working on the budget, the only bill lawmakers have to pass. And that's why there are 354 proposed amendments: If you can get your idea attached to the only bill that has to pass, your chances get much better. Use our livestream to watch the House budget debate happening now. 

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

Budget Debate Tackles School Funding, Incentive Programs

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early discussions addressed school funding and incentive programs. Use our livestream, courtesy of the Texas Legislature, to watch the debate.

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.
E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.

House Committee Considers E-Cigarette Ban for Minors

The House Public Health Committee on Tuesday discussed five bills that would extend current restrictions on tobacco products to vapor products like e-cigarettes. The Senate passed similar legislation last week.

Analysis: A Sales Tax Cut, If Anybody Wants It

A little-noticed bill filed on deadline by the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee could hold the session's biggest tax cut, but only if the House and Senate decide to cut taxes on sales instead of property. The Senate has already signaled its preference for a property tax cut, but the debate is just getting started.

House Speaker Joe Straus (left) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
House Speaker Joe Straus (left) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

A Look at the Priority Bills for Straus and Patrick

The House speaker and the lieutenant governor traditionally award the lowest bill numbers to measures they view as priorities. Here's a breakdown of House Bills 1-20 and Senate Bills 1-20, providing a window into where House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are placing their political capital for the 84th legislative session.

Republican State Reps.  Byron Cook (l), R-Corsicana, Burt Solomons (c), R-Carrollton, and Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order on HB12 sanctuary cities bill on May 6, 2011.
Republican State Reps. Byron Cook (l), R-Corsicana, Burt Solomons (c), R-Carrollton, and Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order on HB12 sanctuary cities bill on May 6, 2011.

Gay Rights Activists Find Unlikely Ally in Republican

Corsicana Republican state Rep. Byron Cook, who has an adopted child, says both same-sex adoptive parents should be listed on a Texas birth certificate. He believes it's best for the children, though it puts him at odds with his party's stance on gay rights issues.

New Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller does a fist pump on election night Nov. 4, 2014.
New Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller does a fist pump on election night Nov. 4, 2014.

Sid Miller Clashes With Legislature Over Budget

Recent episodes — including a parking kerfuffle and a request to leave the House floor — highlight a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the cowboy hat-wearing agriculture commissioner and the Legislature that once counted Sid Miller as one of its own. 

Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston during the Senate Committee on State Affairs as they listen to testimony relating to guns on campus and open carry on February 12th, 2015
Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston during the Senate Committee on State Affairs as they listen to testimony relating to guns on campus and open carry on February 12th, 2015

Bill Moving Integrity Unit to AG Office is Senate-Bound

A measure that would yank the state's public corruption-fighting unit out of the Travis County district attorney's office and stick it in the Texas attorney general's office is headed for the full Senate. 

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took part in an interview with The Texas Tribune on March 12, 2015.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took part in an interview with The Texas Tribune on March 12, 2015.

Analysis: When Local Control is Remote

A big, central government wants to override laws approved by the people in the provinces. That might sound like the federal government bossing states around, but it's the Texas Legislature trying to rein in the cities and counties.