Texas Legislature

Last updated
Texas State Legislature
Seal of Texas.svg
Type
Type
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
History
FoundedMarch 10, 1836 (1836-03-10)
Leadership
Dan Patrick (R)
since January 20, 2015
Dennis Bonnen (R)
since January 8, 2019
Structure
Seats181
31 Senators
150 Representatives
86th Texas Senate.svg
Senate political groups
86th Texas House.svg
House political groups
Elections
Senate last election
November 6, 2018
House last election
November 6, 2018
Senate next election
November 3, 2020
House next election
November 3, 2020
Meeting place
Texas State Capitol building-front left front oblique view.JPG
Texas State Capitol, Austin
Website
https://capitol.texas.gov

The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also due to Texas's plural executive.

State legislature (United States) legislature of a U.S. state

A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Texas Senate

The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas State Legislature. There are 31 members of the Senate, representing single-member districts across the U.S. state of Texas, with populations of approximately 806,000 per constituency, based on the 2010 U.S. Census. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. Elections are held in even-numbered years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In elections in years ending in 2, all seats are up for election. Half of the senators will serve a two-year term, based on a drawing; the other half will fill regular four-year terms. In the case of the latter, they or their successors will be up for two-year terms in the next year that ends in 0. As such, in other elections, about half of the Texas Senate is on the ballot. The Senate meets at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The Republicans currently control the chamber, which is made up of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats.

Contents

The Legislature is the constitutional successor of the Congress of the Republic of Texas since Texas's 1845 entrance into the Union. The Legislature held its first regular session from February 16 to May 13, 1846.

Congress of the Republic of Texas

The Congress of the Republic of Texas was the national legislature of the Republic of Texas established by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836. It was a bicameral legislature based on the model of the United States Congress. It was transformed into the Texas Legislature upon annexation of Texas by the United States in 1846.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

The First Texas Legislature convened from February 16 to May 13, 1846 in regular session. Members of the House of Representatives and Senate were elected in December 1845, after an election on October 13, 1845 that ratified the proposed state constitution.

Structure and operations

The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. [1] The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days. The lieutenant governor, elected statewide separately from the governor, presides over the Senate, while the Speaker of the House is elected from that body by its members. Both have wide latitude in choosing committee membership in their respective houses and have a large impact on lawmaking in the state.

Lieutenant Governor of Texas position

The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is the second-highest executive office in the government of Texas, a state in the U.S. It is the second most powerful post in Texas government because its occupant controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the Legislative Budget Board.

Governor of Texas head of state and of government of the U.S. state of Texas

The Governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardons in cases other than impeachment or in the case of treason, with permission by the legislature. The current Governor is Greg Abbott.

Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives presiding officer of the Texas House of Representatives

The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the Texas House of Representatives. The Speaker's main duties are to conduct meetings of the House, appoint committees, and enforce the Rules of the House. The current speaker is Dennis Bonnen, a Republican from Angleton, who was elected Speaker on January 8, 2019.

Only the governor may call the Legislature into special sessions, unlike other states where the legislature may call itself into session. The governor may call as many sessions as he or she desires. For example, Governor Rick Perry called three consecutive sessions to address the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting. The Texas Constitution limits the duration of each special session to 30 days; lawmakers may consider only those issues designated by the governor in his "call," or proclamation convening the special session (though other issues may be added by the Governor during a session).

Rick Perry American politician

James Richard Perry is an American politician who is the 14th and current United States Secretary of Energy, serving in the Cabinet of Donald Trump. Prior to his cabinet position, Perry served as the 47th Governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015. A Republican, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when Governor George W. Bush resigned to become president. Perry was the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

2003 Texas redistricting controversial redistricting of Texass districts for the U.S. House of Representatives

The 2003 Texas redistricting refers to a controversial mid-decade state plan that defined new Congressional districts. In the 2004 elections, this redistricting supported the Republicans taking a majority of Texas's House seats for the first time since Reconstruction. Opponents challenged the plan in three suits, combined when the case went to the United States Supreme Court in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006).

Any bill passed by the Legislature takes effect 90 days after its passage unless two-thirds of each house votes to give the bill either immediate effect or earlier effect. The Legislature may provide for an effective date that is after the 90th day. Under current legislative practice, most bills are given an effective date of September 1 in odd-numbered years (September 1 is the start of the state's fiscal year).

Although members are elected on partisan ballots, both houses of the Legislature are officially organized on a nonpartisan basis, with members of both parties serving in leadership positions such as committee chairmanships.[ citation needed ] As of 2017, a majority of the members of each chamber are members of the Republican Party.

Qualification for service

The Texas Constitution sets the qualifications for election to each house as follows: [2]

Salary of legislative officials

State legislators in Texas make $600 per month, or $7,200 per year, plus a per diem of $190 for every day the Legislature is in session (also including any special sessions). That adds up to $33,800 a year for a regular session (140 days), with the total pay for a two-year term being $41,000. [4] [5] Legislators receive a pension after eight years of service, starting at age 60. [6]

Makeup of the Texas Senate

Seal of the Texas State Senate. Seal of State Senate of Texas.svg
Seal of the Texas State Senate.
AffiliationMembers
  Republican Party 19
  Democratic Party 12
 Total
31
Senate Districts and Party Affiliation as of 2019 Republican Party Democratic Party TxSen2018Comp.svg
Senate Districts and Party Affiliation as of 2019      Republican Party     Democratic Party

Makeup of the Texas House of Representatives

Seal of the Texas House of Representatives. Seal of Texas House of Representatives.svg
Seal of the Texas House of Representatives.
AffiliationMembers
  Republican Party 83
  Democratic Party 67
 Total
150
House Districts and Party Affiliation as of 2019 Republican Party Democratic Party TxHouse2018Comp.svg
House Districts and Party Affiliation as of 2019      Republican Party     Democratic Party

Support agencies

The Texas Legislature has five support agencies that are within the legislative branch of state government.

Those five agencies are as follows:

Scandals

See also

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References

  1. Texas Government Code 301.001
  2. "Qualifications for Office". Sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  3. Texas House of Representatives – Frequently Asked Questions
  4. "THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 3. LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT". Statutes.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  5. "Chapter 50, Ethics Commission Rules". Ethics.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  6. "Legislators With Benefits, Even When They Stray". New York Times. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  7. 1 2 CBS Channel 42 KeyeTV Investigates: One Lawmaker, Many Votes?, May 14, 2007, available at "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG6X-xtVask"; see also Wilson, Nanci, One Lawmaker, Many Votes?, May 14, 2007, available at "www.keyetv.com/topstories/local_story_134224129.html" [ permanent dead link ]
  8. Hoppe, Christy (2011-03-24). "Some Texas lawmakers cast votes for fellow members on bill Meant to Protect Elections". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.

Further reading