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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A medical technician handles and prepares urine sample to be tested for drugs at a small medical clinic in Austin.
A medical technician handles and prepares urine sample to be tested for drugs at a small medical clinic in Austin.

Clock Runs Out on Bill Requiring Drug Testing for State Benefits

UPDATED: In a surprising reversal, the Texas House allowed the clock to run out Tuesday night on Senate Bill 11, an initiative that would have created a drug testing regimen for some welfare benefits.

 

 

 

Sen. John Carona.
Sen. John Carona.

For John Carona, Conflicts and Interests

The constitutional provision of a part-time Legislature whose members have full-time jobs back home limits the power of state government but blurs the line between public responsibilities and personal ambition — as the story of a rich and powerful state senator from Dallas illustrates.

State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.
State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.

Slideshow: John Carona Through the Years

Take a photographic trip through Sen. John Carona's career in the Texas Legislature, from his swearing in as a freshman House member in 1991 to his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Committee on Business & Commerce. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/15/13

Aaronson tracks the latest on Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on lawmakers’ openness to driving permits for non-citizens, Batheja on surprising support for higher state spending, Root and Galbraith on the state’s search for answers after the West explosion, M. Smith covers the debate over high school standards, Grissom finds a shadow payroll at the Capitol, Hamilton on the man with a plan at UT, Rocha spots a special deal for lawmakers accused of crimes, KUT’s Philpott on obstacles to road funding and Ramshaw on the privileges of legislative membership: The best of our best for the week of April 15-19, 2013.

DPS chief Steve McCraw, r, Ken Armbrister, l, and Brandy Marty of the Governor's Office announce the access policy change to the Governor's Mansion on March 5, 2013.
DPS chief Steve McCraw, r, Ken Armbrister, l, and Brandy Marty of the Governor's Office announce the access policy change to the Governor's Mansion on March 5, 2013.

DPS Changes Security Policy at Governor's Mansion

Calling the old policy "stupid," the head of the Department of Public Safety said Tuesday that congressional and state elected officials will no longer have to endure a background check to access the Governor's Mansion.

Year in Review: The Hot Seat

For more than a year, Evan Smith has traveled all over Texas to interview state legislators back home, in their districts, in front of hundreds of their constituents. At university campuses from Corpus Christi to Tyler and in between, lawmakers talked about issues that affect every one of us in Texas, from education and health care to water and immigration.

Talk of Term Limits is Back, With Tea Party Support

Limiting the terms of lawmakers was a sexy idea 20 years ago, when Republicans were trying to unseat Democrats. Now it's back. The goo-goos — the good government types — think the turnover would produce a stream of fresh policy ideas. The revolutionaries — the Tea Party folk — want to replace the current bums with fresh ones, preferably from their flock.

For Donors, the Political Season Comes to an End

The "late train" — the rush of supplicants making kiss-and-make-up contributions after an election — ended this weekend with the beginning of a blackout that outlaws political donations during a legislative session. The blackout is designed to create some distance between the giving of political money and the casting of governmental votes.

Rep. Dan Branch R-Dallas and Sen. Judith Zaffirini D-Laredo, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence & Transparency during meeting on September 21st, 2011
Rep. Dan Branch R-Dallas and Sen. Judith Zaffirini D-Laredo, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence & Transparency during meeting on September 21st, 2011

In Higher Education, More Bang Without More Bucks

Texas Weekly

For higher education in the 83rd Legislative Session, the central theme will be finding ways to get more bang for the same amount bucks, if not less. Of the bills filed thus far, the one to watch is most likely House Bill 25 by House Higher Education Committee Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas.

For Freshman Legislators, Washington is No Texas

Freshman legislators are getting their first look at Washington and Austin, and the differences are as clear as red and blue. The new members of Congress from Texas weren’t exactly showered with greetings from their new workmates. Maybe it’s a difference in how lawmakers shop for allies and for votes in the nation’s capital.

Travis County Democratic Party volunteers make calls to voters on Election Day from the coordinated campaign headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Travis County Democratic Party volunteers make calls to voters on Election Day from the coordinated campaign headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Texas Democrats Gained, if Only a Little, in 2012

Texas Democrats don't hold any statewide offices, and they are terribly outnumbered in the state Legislature, but they were the only gainers in this year's elections. They held their ground in the Senate, gained seven seats in the House, split the four new seats in Congress and wrested another one away from the red team. The rebound from the disastrous 2010 election was not dramatic, but a gain is a gain.