Texas House of Representatives
|Texas House of Representatives|
|Texas State Legislature|
|Type||Lower house of the Texas Legislature|
|New session started||January 8, 2013|
|Speaker of the House||Joe Straus, (R)
Since January 13, 2009
|Speaker pro Tempore||TBD, (R)|
|Political groups||Republican Party (95)
Democratic Party (55)
|Length of term||2 years|
|Authority||Article 3, Texas Constitution|
|Salary||$7,200/year + per diem|
|Last election||November 6, 2012
|Next election||November 4, 2014
|House of Representatives Chamber
Texas State Capitol
|Texas House of Representatives|
The Texas House of Representatives is the lower house of the Texas Legislature. The House is composed of 150 members elected from single-member districts across the state. The average district has about 150,000 people. Texas House elections are held every two years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Representatives are elected to two-year terms with no term limits. The House meets at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
Leadership of the House 
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer and key leader of the House. The Speaker's duties include maintaining order within the House, recognizing members during debate, rule on procedural matters, the appointment chairships and members to committees, sending bills for committee review. The Speaker pro tempore is primarily a ceremonial position; by long-standing tradition, the Speaker pro tempore presides over the House during its consideration of local and consent bills.
Unlike other state legislatures, the House Rules do not formally recognize majority or minority leaders for parties represented in the House. However, each political party has a caucus that elects officers and participates in the lawmaking process. The leader of the Republican caucus is the Caucus Chairman, while the leader of the Democratic Caucus is the House Democratic Leader.
The current Speaker of the House is Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio. The Speaker pro tempore is Dennis Bonnen, a Republican from Angleton, TX. The current Republican Caucus Chairman is Brandon Creighton of Conroe and the current House Democratic Leader is Jessica Farrar of Houston. Bonnen was chosen to replace Democrat and former Speaker pro tempore Beverly Wooley.
|Speaker of the House||Joe Straus||Republican||San Antonio||121|
|Speaker Pro Tempore||Dennis Bonnen||Republican||Angleton, Texas||25|
Committee Structure 
The following represents the House committee structure for the 81st Legislature.
- Agriculture and Livestock
- Subcommittee on Business and Economic Development
- Subcommittee on Criminal Justice
- Subcommittee on Education
- Subcommittee on General Government
- Subcommittee on Health & Human Services
- Subcommittee on Hurricane
- Subcommittee on Stimulus
- Border & Intergovernmental Affairs
- Business & Industry
- County Affairs
- Criminal Jurisprudence
- Culture, Recreation, & Tourism
- Defense & Veterans' Affairs
- Energy Resources
- Environmental Regulation
- Federal Economic Stabilization Funding (Select Committee)
- General Investigating & Ethics
- Higher Education
- House Administration
- Human Services
- Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
- Land & Resource Management
- Licensing & Administrative Procedures
- Local & Consent Calendars
- Natural Resources
- Pensions, Investments, & Financial Resources
- Public Education
- Public Health
- Public Safety
- Rules & Resolutions
- State Affairs
- Technology, Economic Development, & Workforce
- Urban Affairs
- Ways & Means
There are also statutory joint committees, composed of members of both the House and the Senate
- Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight
- Legislative Audit Board
- Legislative Budget Board
- Legislative Library Board
- Sunset Advisory Commission
- Texas Legislative Council
Current composition 
The chamber was narrowly split heading into the 2010 election cycle, but large Republican gains on election day, a Republican victory in a December 14, 2010 special election, and the party switch of two Democratic members have given the GOP a supermajority of 101 members at the start of the 82nd legislature. Unlike in the 1965 session, when there was only one Republican in the entire Texas House: Frank Kell Cahoon of Midland, then District 77.
In 2013, the 83rd legislature has 95 Republicans and 55 Democrats. Of the Democrats, only ten are non-Hispanic whites. Only one of those ten, Tracy King of Zavala County, represents a predominantly rural district. All other rural districts have Republican representatives. By contrast, there were eighty-three Anglo Democrats in the House in 1987, with fifty-six of those from primarily rural areas.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of Previous Legislature||48||149||1|
|Latest voting share||63.3%||36.7%|
List of Members 
Notable past members 
- Henry Watkins Allen, later 17th Governor of Louisiana (1853)
- Ray Barnhart, Federal Highway Administrator (1981–1987)
- Jack Brooks, U.S. House of Representatives (1953–1995)
- Dolph Briscoe, Governor of Texas (1973–1979)
- Tom DeLay, U.S. House Representative (1985–2006) and House Majority Leader (2003–2006)
- John Nance Garner, U.S. House Representative (1903–1933), Speaker of the House (1931–1933), and Vice President of the United States (1933–1941)
- O.H. "Ike" Harris, Dallas County representative from 1963–1965; state senator (1967–1995)
- Sarah T. Hughes, United States district court judge
- Robert Dean Hunter, former executive vice president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas
- Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Senator (1993–2013)
- Ray Hutchison, husband of Kay Bailey Hutchison
- Dan Kubiak, representative from Rockdale known for his support of public education
- Mickey Leland, U.S. House of Representatives (1979–1989)
- Charles Henry Nimitz (1826–1911) Born in Bremen. In 1852, built the Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg, which now houses the National Museum of the Pacific War. Grandfather of United States Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. Elected to the Texas Legislature 1890.
- Rick Perry, current Governor of Texas, (2000–present)
- Colonel Alfred P.C. Petsch (1925–1941) Lawyer, legislator, civic leader, and philanthropist. Veteran of both World War I and World War II.
- Sam Rayburn, U.S. House Representative (1913–1961) and Speaker of the House (1940–1961)
- Coke R. Stevenson, Governor of Texas (1941–1947)
- Craig Washington, U.S. House of Representatives (1989–1995)
- Sarah Weddington, attorney for "Jane Roe" for the 1973 Roe v. Wade case in the U.S. Supreme Court
- Ferdinand C. Weinert, Texas Senate, Texas House, TX. Sec. of State – coauthored bill to establish the Pasteur Institute of Texas, authored resolution for humane treatment of state convicts, coauthored the indeterminate sentence and parole law
- Charles Wilson, U.S. House of Representatives (1973–1996), subject of the book and film Charlie Wilson's War
Recent controversies 
House voting controversy 
On May 14, 2007, CBS Austin affiliate KEYE reported on multiple voting by representatives during House floor sessions. The report noted how representatives register votes for absent members on the House's automated voting machines. Each representative would vote for the nearest absent members (apparently regardless of party affiliation). This practice was in direct violation of a Rule of the House; however, no representative had ever been disciplined for the practice in the almost 70 years since the rule was adopted. Speaker Craddick, responsible for enforcement of House Rules, issued a statement that discipline for violations of the rule is left to the individual members.
Craddick removal controversy 
Chaos erupted in the Texas House of Representatives on Friday, May 25, 2007, when Rep. Fred Hill, R-Richardson, attempted to offer a motion to remove Tom Craddick as Speaker and have the House elect a new speaker. Craddick (also a Republican) refused to allow him to make the motion. The attempts to oust Craddick continued through the weekend as other Republicans made additional motions, which were also disallowed.
The last time a Texas House speaker was removed by a vote of his fellow members was in 1871, when the House adopted a resolution removing Speaker Ira Evans. The Republican House majority removed Evans because he was seen as cooperating too much with Democrats on an elections bill. While Craddick's close allies say the 2007 attempt to remove Craddick was just an effort by Democrats to gain greater control of the Legislature before the legislative and congressional redistricting process of 2011, Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, says the fight was about Craddick consolidating power with lobbyists and using campaign contributions to maintain control in the House: "This is about the convergence of money and power and influence," Cook said.
In January 2009, Craddick lost the Speaker's chair after a challenge from Joe Straus.
See also 
- Killer Ds a group of Texas House Democrats who left the state of Texas in 2003 to prevent House consideration of the redistricting legislation that would have benefited Texas Republicans.
- Texas Government Newsletter for long-time coverage of issues such as the Dirty Thirty, the Killer Bees, and Killer D's.
- Sue Watkins, The Alcade, 1965. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- Gary Scharrer, "Election trends reflect change", Laredo Morning Times, January 5, 2013, pp. 1, 14A
- Ross Ramsey (December 20, 2010). "Left, Behind". Texas Weekly. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- Aguilar, Julián (March 5, 2012). "Rep. J.M. Lozano Confirms Plans to Switch to GOP". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- CBS Channel 42 KeyeTV Investigates: One Lawmaker, Many Votes?, May 14, 2007, available at "http://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"
- R.G. Ratcliffe and Gary Scharrer. "The House struggles to move forward". Houston Chronicle, chron.com (May 27, 2007). Retrieved May 27, 2007.