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 ...
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
Florida Gov. Rick Scott's recent reversal on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has left Texas as the last big-state holdout. But one key GOP state lawmaker sees some room for compromise.Full Story
Twenty journalists have spent nine months researching the personal financial interests of members of the 83rd Legislature. Eyebrows — and hackles — may be raised, but this kind of transparency is good for Texas.Full Story
The elections never seem to stop. Neither does the electioneering. In Texas, it feels like there's a two-year political season, interrupted by five months of fierce legislating — a bit of which has as much to do with politics and elections as with governing the state.Full Story
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, won his leadership post in 2009 with the support of Democrats — which still gives some conservatives fits. If his just-announced challenger, David Simpson, R-Longview, builds a similar bipartisan coalition in 2013, can he hold on to conservative support?Full Story
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
After the Legislature cut billions of dollars from the state budget in 2011, some hoped to see at least some of the funding restored in 2013. But with the next legislative session quickly approaching, others are pushing to limit that spending.Full Story
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.Full Story
Who's leaving, who's coming in, and how the numbers compare to turnover after the last 40 years of Texas elections.Full Story
They haven't been sworn in yet, but three candidates newly elected to the Texas House have been asked to testify on the eve of their first legislative session in a lawsuit filed against their political consultant.Full Story
Texas lawmakers are once again heading into a legislative session facing concerns over the fiscal health of the state’s major pension systems, and changes to retirees’ health insurance may play a role.Full Story
The state's top two legislative leaders reflect the split in the Texas and national GOP — between populist conservatives on one hand, and mainline, old-school Republicans on the other.Full Story
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
The line “wait until we see who wins the election" no longer holds water. What does four more years of an Obama White House mean for the policy hurdles facing the overwhelmingly conservative Texas Legislature — and the interest groups and constituents who guide the political process?Full Story
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.
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.Full Story