Tribpedia: Texas Legislature

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 ...

Patrick Advisers Blast Abbott's Pre-K Plans

Newly sworn in, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick watch the inaugural parade up Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas on January 20, 2015.
Newly sworn in, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick watch the inaugural parade up Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas on January 20, 2015.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's grassroots advisers are blasting Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to enhance pre-kindergarten programs, a move sure to increase tension between the top two Republican leaders. Patrick said in an emailed statement that the letter was unsolicited and "expresses the individual viewpoints of Texas citizens."

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.

 

House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel shows the rule book to a group of House members including Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, during a point of order called on HB 11 March 18, 2015.
House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel shows the rule book to a group of House members including Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, during a point of order called on HB 11 March 18, 2015.

Analysis: Winning and Losing Without Even Voting on the Bills

Voting against legislation isn't the only way to kill it. Some of the most powerful tools available to Texas legislators are found in the dry pages of their parliamentary rulebooks.

Terrell State Hospital is one of 10 state psychiatric hospitals.
Terrell State Hospital is one of 10 state psychiatric hospitals.

Failed Hospital Deal Reveals Ties to Janek

Three years ago, a company called Geo Care Inc. gave HHSC chief Kyle Janek a blueprint for privatizing state hospitals. The only contract awarded — privatizing Terrell State Hospital — ended up going to that same company.

 

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014

DPS Chief: Resume Inquiry Into Border Security Contracts

Looking to clear the Texas Department of Public Safety's name, the agency’s top official is asking the head of the state's anti-corruption unit to renew a halted investigation into $20 million no-bid border security contracts.

House Public Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, on the floor during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Public Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, on the floor during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

School Finance Plan Praised in Capitol Hearing

A plan to overhaul the state’s public education funding system from a top House lawmaker received largely favorable reviews from school districts during a marathon legislative hearing that ended late Tuesday night.

State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, speaks during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on April 9, 2015.
State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, speaks during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on April 9, 2015.

Analysis: Something More Conservative Than Cutting Taxes?

As the House and Senate engage in what state Sen. Kevin Eltife calls "a bidding war" over cuts to sales and property taxes, the Tyler Republican is sticking to his guns: He thinks lawmakers should look at neglected projects before they cut taxes.

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

Senate Bill Targeting Bullet Train Project Advances

On a 5-4 vote, the Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would hobble a private company’s plan to build a $12 billion high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston.

Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.
Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.

Sales Tax Cut a Key Piece in Bonnen's $4.9 Billion Tax Cut Plan

House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, laid out a $4.9 billion tax cut plan Wednesday featuring cuts in sales taxes and business taxes. The Senate's plan cuts business taxes and property taxes.