Texas Legislature

Texas State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
Dan Patrick (R)
Since January 20, 2015
Joe Straus (R)
Since January 13, 2009
Seats 181 voting members:
31 Senators
150 Representatives
Senate political groups

     Republican (20)

     Democratic (11)
House political groups

     Republican (99)      Democratic (48)

     Vacant (2)
Senate last election
November 4, 2014
Meeting place
Texas State Capitol, Austin

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.

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.

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.

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).

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. As of 2015, 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]

Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate has term limits.

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]

Makeup of the Texas Senate

Seal of the Texas State Senate.
Main article: Texas Senate
Affiliation Members
  Republican Party 20
  Democratic Party 11

Makeup of the Texas House of Representatives

Seal of the Texas House of Representatives.
Affiliation Members
  Republican Party 99
  Democratic Party 48
Vacant 2

Support agencies

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

Those five agencies are:


See also


  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. 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"

Further reading

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