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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The Economic Debate Behind the Political Debate

This summer’s debate on abortion restrictions turned entirely on politics. It wasn’t about money. But the state's abortion and health care policies intersect in the budget — even though that might not always be part of the debate — and the budget is where the impact of decisions on abortion and Medicaid will be revealed.

UT/TT Poll: Legislature Stands Ahead of Congress

Texas politicians and institutions are getting much better marks from the state’s voters than the president and Congress, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Among Texas politicians, Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz were viewed favorably by the highest percentages of people, but they also led in their share of unfavorable rankings.

The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A Conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.
The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A Conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.

Perry Issues More Than Two Dozen Vetoes

Gov. Rick Perry issued more than two dozen vetoes Friday, including a line-item veto that wipes out funding for the Travis County prosecutors who investigate government fraud and public corruption. He also vetoed a bill that would have had Texas law mirror gender wage protections in the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

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

Agenda Texas: Campus Construction in Spotlight

On the latest Agenda Texas, from KUT News and the Tribune: Higher education was having a great legislative session — until the very end, when a plan to issue billions of dollars in bonds for campus construction projects died.

Lawmakers Collect Daily Pay Even in Recess

It doesn't feel much like there's a special session going on at the state Capitol, but that doesn't mean taxpayers won't get a bill for it. Lawmakers get paid whether they're here or not. Throw in travel costs and legal fees and the bill could easily exceed $1 million.

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.