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 ...

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

The Texas Senate on Friday voted to beef up the state’s underfunded retirement system for state employees by adding about $440 million to the program, a plan that has received mixed reviews from state employee advocacy groups.

Parliamentarian Karina Davis watches as new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gavels in the Texas Senate on Jan. 21, 2015.
Parliamentarian Karina Davis watches as new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gavels in the Texas Senate on Jan. 21, 2015.

Without Two-Thirds Rule, Senate Moving Patrick's Priorities

When the Texas Senate changed the rules on how many votes are required to bring legislation to the floor for debate, Democrats said a process intended to encourage compromise would suffer. Several bills have been unblocked, but the conservative steamroller that Democrats feared hasn't emerged.

Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

Analysis: Ethics at Center Stage, Hurting for Attention

In February, Gov. Greg Abbott asked lawmakers to dedicate this legislative session to ethics reform. With only two weeks left, he's still waiting. The most significant changes being proposed still haven’t been considered by the Texas House.

The House of Representatives on May 14, 2015.
The House of Representatives on May 14, 2015.

State Leaders Juggle Resolutions on Five Major Issues

Top state leaders were negotiating intensely — and optimistically — Thursday afternoon to secure compromises on five bills covering tax cuts, restraints on local property tax increases, border security, prosecutions of state ethics cases and open carry of handguns before the end of the current legislative session in less than three weeks. 

Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013
Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013

"Denton Fracking Bill" Headed to Abbott's Desk

The so-called “Denton fracking bill” is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The Senate on Monday approved a bill to pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of oil and gas activities — a measure that has stirred concerns in some towns that have sought to blunt the effects of drilling close to homes, schools and businesses.

Analysis: Does "Voucher" Label Fit the Bill?

You can slow down or even kill a piece of legislation with a single word or phrase, if it's poisonous enough. One such loaded word is "voucher." Critics are using that term to describe a school scholarship proposal that has won the Senate's approval. But backers say the proposal is a tax credit and not the kind of voucher program that seems to merit automatic dismissal from lawmakers.

Sens. Lois Kolkhorst, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Jane Nelson, Charles Schwertner, Joan Huffman and Reps. Larry Gonzales, Sarah Davis, Sylvester Turner, John Otto and Trent Ashby make up the 2015 budget conference committee.
Sens. Lois Kolkhorst, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Jane Nelson, Charles Schwertner, Joan Huffman and Reps. Larry Gonzales, Sarah Davis, Sylvester Turner, John Otto and Trent Ashby make up the 2015 budget conference committee.

A Closer Look at Budget Conference Committee Members

The budget conference committee will hash out a compromise of the chamber’s respective 2016-17 budget plans. Committee members include two Democrats who rank as the most experienced budget negotiators on the panel.

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 an updated breakdown of House Bills 1-20 and Senate Bills 1-20, showing where House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are placing their priorities for the 84th legislative session.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during inaugural parade up Congress Ave. on January 20th, 2015
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during inaugural parade up Congress Ave. on January 20th, 2015

Grassroots Panel Creates Political Drama for Patrick

The panel of conservative activists that is advising Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is putting him in a tricky spot as he navigates leadership politics under the dome. The leader of the Grassroots Advisory Board says the panel has no plans to scale back its activities at the Capitol.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during Texas Public Policy Foundation's grand opening of new building on April 21st, 2015
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during Texas Public Policy Foundation's grand opening of new building on April 21st, 2015

Legislative Tensions Peak at Leadership Breakfast

A weekly leadership breakfast went sour Wednesday as the state's top three officials complained to one another about legislative packages and the tensions between a House and Senate that have just weeks left to complete their work.

State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.
State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.

Ethics Legislation Headed to Senate Floor

A heavily watered-down ethics reform bill will soon be taken up by the full Senate. Lawmakers on Monday rejected an amendment that would have required legislators to publicly disclose their tax returns each year.

 

 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he has problems with a proposed state budget that includes significant business franchise taxes during a Tax Day press conference on April 15, 2015.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he has problems with a proposed state budget that includes significant business franchise taxes during a Tax Day press conference on April 15, 2015.

Analysis: Abbott's Caution on Display in Tax Fight

Texans grew accustomed to the swagger and bombast of Rick Perry, a governor who didn’t shy from confrontation with the Legislature and upended the notion that his office was inherently weak. Newly elected Gov. Greg Abbott, ever cautious and lawyerly, is cutting a different path.