Tribpedia: Texas Senate

The Texas Senate is the upper chamber of the state's bicameral Legislature. It is comprised of 31 state senators and the lieutenant governor, who serves as president of the Senate.

Senators serve four-year terms and are not term limited.

The second-highest post in the Senate is the president pro-tempore, who can come from either party and is usually determined ...

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.

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.
State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

$209.8 Billion Budget Plan Headed to House Floor

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday backed a $209.8 billion two-year budget that would leave $8.4 billion on the table, along with billions more in the state’s savings account. The budget will be debated and voted on by the full 150-member House next Tuesday.

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.

Analysis: Making the Worst of a Good Situation

Texas legislators have an unfamiliar problem: They have more money available to spend than their self-imposed limits will allow. And it's enough to start debates even where there is broad agreement — over which taxes to cut, how many people it takes to secure the border and which items on the state's wish list should be first. 

X-Ray Technologist Donna Fehl, prepares to scan a patient on a mobile mammogram machine at a clinic in Port Arthur, Texas, Monday, November 11, 2013.
X-Ray Technologist Donna Fehl, prepares to scan a patient on a mobile mammogram machine at a clinic in Port Arthur, Texas, Monday, November 11, 2013.

In Funding Fight, Cancer Care Could Be Collateral Damage

GOP lawmakers, in their running effort to put Planned Parenthood clinics out of business, are considering changing how funding is distributed through a cancer screening program for poor, uninsured women. But private health clinics unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood say they'd take a huge hit, too.  

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.

Analysis: Fear of Spending Even Extends to Tax Cuts

Lawmakers want to send voters a tax cut but fear spending the money the cut requires without asking voters for permission. Senate leaders are proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow them to ignore caps on spending growth when they are cutting taxes or paying debts.

Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, is congratulated by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in passing changes to Senate rules on Jan. 21, 2015.
Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, is congratulated by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in passing changes to Senate rules on Jan. 21, 2015.

Analysis: A Desire for Tax Cuts and a Call for Restraint

As state officials rush to announce tax cuts, a former mayor now in the Senate is pleading for a little restraint and a return to pay-as-you-go government. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, says the state has enough money to address deferred maintenance of roads and buildings and to balance the state pension fund, if his colleagues will move tax cuts to the back of the line.

New Texas Sen. Konni Burton, c, stands with other incoming Senators during the swearing-in ceremony at the Texas Capitol Jan. 13, 2015.
New Texas Sen. Konni Burton, c, stands with other incoming Senators during the swearing-in ceremony at the Texas Capitol Jan. 13, 2015.

Analysis: Taking Lobbyists' Money, Ignoring Their Calls

A new senator doesn't think taxpayer-supported governments should hire lobbyists to talk to other government officials and won't let those lobbyists come to her office. But she took their contributions during her 2014 campaign. 

State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.
State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.

Analysis: The "GOP" Strikes Back

State Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, is on his way to the Texas Senate, thanks in part to the "gringos y otros pendejos" derided last summer by his opponent and House colleague, Trey Martinez Fischer.

Committee Breakdowns: Texas Senate

Texas Weekly

We take a look this week at how the newly formed Senate committees stack up by party ID and by gender. Women are significantly underrepresented on the Administration, Nominations and Finance committees. And in the most extreme example, there is not a single woman on the Business and Commerce Committee.

Texas Capitol
Texas Capitol

Analysis: It's Not Bribery Unless They Say It's Bribery

It's a bribe when a lobbyist gives a public official something of value in exchange for a decision or a vote or some other official act. But there's an exception in Texas law when that official is a Texas legislator and the lobbyist reports the spending. In some cases, lobbyists don't even have to name the legislator who got the benefit.