Texas House of Representatives
|Texas House of Representatives|
|2015 session start:||January 8, 2013|
|Website:||Official House Page|
|House Speaker:||Joe Straus, (R)|
| Democratic Party (52) |
Republican Party (98)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art 3, Texas Constitution|
|Salary:||$7,200/year + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 6, 2012 (150 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014 (150 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Texas Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Elections
- 3 Redistricting
- 4 Representatives
- 5 Amending the constitution
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
As of May 2015, Texas is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
Article III of the Texas Constitution establishes when the Texas State Legislature, of which the House of Representatives is a part, is to be in session. Section 5 of Article III states that the Legislature shall meet every two years at times to be established by law. Section 5 goes on to say that the Legislature can also be convened by the Governor of Texas.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through May 27. Thirty minutes after the regular session ended, Governor Rick Perry called legislators back for a special session starting that evening.
Along with the necessity of creating a new budget, some of the biggest issues included medicaid and school funding, a water shortage, and reforming the school finance system.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the House was not in regular session.
2011 (82nd Legislature)
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the House will be in session from January 11 through May 30. 
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the House did not meet in regular session. 
2009 (81st Legislature)
In 2009, the House met in session from January 13 through June 1. 
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Texas was given a grade of A in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Elections for the office of Texas House of Representatives were held on November 6, 2012 in all 150 House districts. Elections for the office of Texas House of Representatives consisted of a Primary Election on March 6, 2012 and a General Election on November 6, 2012. A Primary Runoff Election was scheduled for May 22, 2012. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was December 12, 2011.
This chamber was mentioned in a November 2012 Pew Center on the States article that addressed supermajorities at stake in the 2012 election. Supermajority generally means a party controls two-thirds of all seats. While it varies from state to state, being in this position gives a party much greater power. Going into the election, Republicans in the Texas House currently have a supermajority, which Democrats are seeking to cut into.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Texas House of Representatives|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 107||Kenneth Sheets||1.7%||50,886||Robert Miklos|
|District 105||Linda Harper-Brown||1.8%||43,353||Rosemary Robbins|
|District 43||J.M. Lozano||3.1%||46,703||Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles|
|District 144||Mary Ann Perez||6.5%||23,904||David Pineda|
|District 117||Philip Cortez||7.6%||41,611||John Garza|
|District 78||Joe Moody||7.7%||42,080||Dee Margo|
|District 23||Craig Eiland||7.9%||56,410||Wayne Faircloth|
|District 114||Jason Villalba||8.3%||62,732||Carol Kent|
|District 134||Sarah Davis||9.3%||80,424||Ann Johnson|
|District 45||Jason Isaac||11.2%||62,656||John Adams|
Elections for the office of Texas House of Representatives were held on November 2, 2010 in all 150 House districts. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was January 4, 2010, the primary election day was on March 2, and the primary runoff was held April 13.
In 2010, the candidates for state house raised a total of $78,482,292 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: 
|2010 Donors, Texas House of Representatives|
|Texans for Lawsuit Reform||$5,176,786|
|Texans for Insurance Reform||$2,591,865|
|Associated Republicans of Texas||$2,133,555|
|House Democratic Campaign Cmte||$1,950,747|
|Perry, Bob J||$1,733,500|
|Joe R Straus III Campaign||$889,000|
|Texas Association of Realtors||$814,570|
To be eligible to serve in the Texas House of Representatives, a candidate must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- 21 years old before the general election
- A two-year resident of Texas before the general election
- A district resident for 1 year prior to the general election
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the House, the Governor must call a special election to fill the vacant seat. A Governor's proclamation to a special election must be delivered to local elections authorities representing the vacant seat no later than 36 days before the scheduled election.
- See also: Redistricting in Texas
Legislative redistricting in Texas is handled by the Legislature. Maps are passed as regular legislature, but if the Legislature fails, a constitutionally-prescribed Legislative Redistricting Board -- made up of the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, land commissioner, comptroller, and Attorney General -- is formed to finish the job. The board must meet within 90 days of the Legislature's failure, and pass a plan within 60 days of the first meeting. Texas is a Voting Rights Act state, meaning it must submit its maps to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Texas received its local census data on February 17, 2011. The state grew 20.6%, with Hispanics making up at least 2/3 of that growth. As far as the large cities, Houston grew by 7.5 percent, San Antonio grew by 16.0 percent, Dallas grew by 0.8 percent, Austin grew by 20.4 percent, and Fort Worth grew by 38.6 percent. However, Harris County -- of which Houston is the seat -- grew by 20%, suggesting suburban growth.
In 2012, Texas was holding elections under interim maps drawn by a federal court after the Legislature's passed maps were thrown out by a panel of three federal judges on Voting Rights Act grounds. The panel drew up its own maps, but the federal court struck down those as well, substituting its own so that the elections could proceed.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of May 2015|
The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Texas State House from 1992-2013.
The following map displays party control of districts throughout the Texas House of Representatives after the 2010 general elections:
The following map displays party control of districts throughout the Texas House of Representatives before the 2010 general elections:
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Texas Legislature are paid $7,200/year. Legislators receive $150/day per diem which is set by the Ethics Commission.
When calculating a legislators' pension, their normal salary is artificially inflated to $125,000. This goes back to 1981, when lawmakers linked their salaries to those of state judges. Since then, they raised judges' salaries while removing the caps on their own pensions, pushing the maximum benefit up to 100% of a judge's salary.
In 2011, this resulted in an average state employee pension of $17,526 annually. The maximum pension a legislator can earn is $125,000, of which Rep. Tom Craddick (R) will be the first to qualify for when he retires. 
When sworn in
Texas legislators assume office at the beginning of the legislative session (January). Special elections will be different and subject to case-by-case basis.
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body.
|Current Leadership, Texas House of Representatives|
|State Speaker of the House||Joe Straus||Republican|
|State House Speaker Pro Tempore||Beverly Woolley||Republican|
List of Members
Amending the constitution
The Texas House of Representatives, together with the Texas State Senate, has the authority to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution. Proposed amendments must be approved in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate.
The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.
Amendments may be proposed in either regular or special sessions.
The Texas House has 36 standing committees. The House also has 5 subcommittees and 3 select committees. Below are the standing committees:
- Agriculture and Livestock
- Business & Industry
- County Affairs
- Criminal Jurisprudence
- Culture, Recreation, & Tourism
- Defense & Veterans' Affairs
- Economic & Small Business Development
- Energy Resources
- Environmental Regulation
- General Investigating & Ethics
- Government Efficiency & Reform
- Higher Education
- Homeland Security & Public Safety
- House Administration
- Human Services
- International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs
- Investments & Financial Services
- Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
- Land & Resource Management
- Licensing & Administrative Procedures
- Local & Consent Calendars
- Natural Resources
- Public Education
- Public Health
- Rules & Resolutions
- Special Purpose Districts
- State Affairs
- Urban Affairs
- Ways & Means
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Texas State House of Representatives for the first 11 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last 11 years. Texas was under Republican trifectas for the final 11 years of the study.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- Official website of the Texas House of Representatives
- Collected news and commentary at The Texas Tribune
- Texas Watchdog
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- "Texas House of Representatives" FAQ's, March 13, 2009
- kten.com, "Texas Lawmakers To Tackle Redistricting In Special Session," May 29, 2013
- Star-Telegram, "As lawmakers return to Austin this week, a heap of work awaits," January 6, 2013
- 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
- 2010 session dates for Texas legislature
- 2009 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Texas Secretary of State, "Important 2012 Election Dates", Accessed July 15, 2011
- Stateline, "In Legislative Elections, Majorities and Supermajorities at Stake," November 2, 2012
- Follow the Money: "Texas House 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Qualifications for running for Texas House of Representatives
- Texas Legislature "Texas Election Code"(Referenced Statute 3.003 (3))
- Texas Legislature "Texas Election Code"(Referenced Statute 3.003 (3)(b)-(c))
- Texas Legislature "Texas Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2.055 (3)(b)-(c))
- U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Texas' 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," February 17, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "State lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," September 23, 2011
- Texas Speaker of the House
State of Texas
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