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 ...

Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel and Speaker Joe Straus with several other House members on dias May 1, 2015
Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel and Speaker Joe Straus with several other House members on dias May 1, 2015

Analysis: Votes Count, but the Rules Can Count More

At the end of the legislative session, votes still count and majorities are important. But the rules come into play as well, and so do the political minorities. That has been clearly on display this week as legislators navigate a number of deadlines.

House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

Residency Requirement for Statewide Elected Officials Could Change

Statewide elected officials would no longer be required to live in Austin under a constitutional amendment that could be headed to voters on a general election ballot. The House tentatively backed the measure on Monday.

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.

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

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.