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.  

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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.

New Legislative Faces — and an Experience Deficit

With 43 legislators in the freshman class and 24 more who were new after the 2010 elections, the 150-member Texas House has a lot of new blood — and a lot of inexperienced officeholders. They aren’t stupid, and some are quite smart. But their lack of experience will become evident as they run into the particular quirks of the Texas Legislature.

Get to Know the Newest Texas Lawmakers

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With the general election in the books, the state House, state Senate and U.S. House delegations from Texas have more than four dozen new members between them. Get to know the new lawmakers' backgrounds and faces.

State Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer, right, and District 7 Councilman Justin Rodriguez, left, greet Rodriguez's grandmother, Inez Randon Ramirez, and her friend, Mary Barker as they get out the message to vote at the Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior Center in San Antonio, Friday, October 26, 2012.
State Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer, right, and District 7 Councilman Justin Rodriguez, left, greet Rodriguez's grandmother, Inez Randon Ramirez, and her friend, Mary Barker as they get out the message to vote at the Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior Center in San Antonio, Friday, October 26, 2012.

Outspoken Democrat Has Knack for Political Sparring

The outnumbered Democrats have plenty of leaders, insists state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer. But that hasn’t stopped the outspoken chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus from taking center stage in the Texas House. On issues like redistricting and voter ID, he’s known as an unrelenting bulldog. 

 

UT/TT Poll: Texans Are Leery of Government

News flash: Texans aren't big fans of the state government in Austin, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. But if you really want to get their dander up, ask about the government in Washington. The least trusted branch of the federal government? Congress, by a mile.