|Texas State Senate|
|Texas State Legislature|
|Type||Upper house of the Texas Legislature|
|New session started||January 11, 2011|
|President of the Senate||David Dewhurst, (R)
Since January 21, 2003
|President Pro Tempore||Leticia R. Van de Putte, (D)
Since May 30, 2011
|Political groups||Republican Party (19)
Democratic Party (12)
|Length of term||4 years|
|Authority||Article 3, Texas Constitution|
|Salary||$7,200/year + per diem|
|Last election||November 2, 2010
|Next election||November 6, 2012
|State Senate Chamber
Texas State Capitol
|Texas State 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. Texas Senate elections are held every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November on the same date as gubernatorial elections. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. However, in elections ending in years ending in "2", half of the senators will serve a two-year term, based on a drawing; the other half will fill regular four-year terms. Those who drew the 2-year terms will run in the year ending in "4" for a four-year term. 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.
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas serves as the President of the Senate. The lieutenant governor's duties include presiding over the Senate, appointing chairs of committees, committee members, assigning and referring bills to specific committees, recognizing members during debate, and making procedural rulings. The lieutenant governor may also cast a vote should a Senate floor vote end in a tie. If the Senate votes to dissolve itself into the Committee of the Whole, in which all members are part of the committee, the President Pro-Tempore resides over the proceedings, with the Lieutenant Governor acting as a regular voting member. Due to the various powers of committee selection and bill assignment, the lieutenant governor is arguably considered more powerful than the Governor of Texas, and is considered one of the most powerful lieutenant governorships in the United States.
Unlike other state legislatures, the Texas Senate does not include majority or minority leaders. Instead, the President Pro Tempore is considered the second most powerful position, and can be reserved to any political party in the chamber regardless if the party is a majority or not. President Pro Tempores are usually the most senior members of the Senate. The President Pro Tempore preside when the lieutenant governor is not present or when the legislature is not in regular session.
Senator John Whitmire, a Democrat from Houston, is the Dean of the Senate, meaning he is the most senior member, having served since 1987. Senator Chris Harris, a Republican from Arlington, is the most senior member of his party, and the fourth overall member in terms of seniority.
|Lieutenant Governor/President of the Senate||David Dewhurst||Republican||Austin|
|President Pro Tempore||Mike Jackson||Republican||Bryan||11|
There have been at least three cases of quorum-busting in Texas Senate history. The first case was in 1870, with the Rump Senate, followed by the 1979 Killer Bees, and finally the Texas Eleven in the summer of 2003, who were following the example of the Texas house Killer Ds.
Committee Structure 
The following represents the Senate committee structure for the 81st Legislature.
- Agriculture & Rural Affairs
- Business & Commerce
- Criminal Justice
- Economic Development
- Government Organization
- Health & Human Services
- Higher Education
- Intergovernmental Relations
- subcommittee: Flooding & Evacuations
- International Relations & Trade
- Natural Resources
- State Affairs
- Transportation & Homeland Security
- Veteran Affairs & Military Installations
- subcommittee: Base Realignment & Closure
- Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight (joint committee with Texas House of Representatives)
- Bexar Metropolitan Water District Legislative Oversight (joint committee with House)
In addition, the House and Senate operate the permanent joint committee known as the Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
Current composition 
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature||19||11||30||1|
|March 3, 2013||12||31||0|
|Latest voting share||61.3%||38.7%|
List of members 
†Elected in a special election
Notable past members 
- Edward Clark, Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1859–1861), Governor of Texas (1861).
- Wayne Connally, Senator from Wilson County (1967–1973), brother of Governor John Connally.
- Lloyd Doggett, Texas Supreme Court Justice (1989–1994), U.S. House of Representatives (1995–present).
- Chet Edwards, U.S. House of Representatives (1991–2011).
- James W. Flanagan, U.S. Senate (1870–1875).
- John Ireland, Texas Supreme Court Justice (1876), Governor of Texas (1883–1887).
- Eddie Bernice Johnson, U.S. House of Representatives (1993–present).
- Rienzi Melville Johnston, U.S. Senate (1913).
- Barbara Jordan, U.S. House of Representatives (1973–1979).
- Earle Bradford Mayfield, U.S. Senate (1923–1929).
- William Neff "Bill" Patman, Senator from Jackson County (1961–1981), U.S. House of Representatives (1981–1985).
- Lawrence Sullivan Ross, Governor of Texas, (1887–1891).
- Joseph D. Sayers, Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1879–1881), U.S. House of Representatives (1885–1898), Governor of Texas 1899–1903).
- Allan Shivers, Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1946–1949), Governor of Texas (1949–1957).
- Preston Smith, Governor of Texas (1969–1973).
- Frank Tejeda, U.S. House of Representatives (1993–1997).
- James W. Throckmorton, Governor of Texas (1866–1867), U.S. House of Representatives (1874–1888).
- Jim Turner, U.S. House of Representatives (1997–2005).
- Matthias Ward, U.S. Senate (1858–1859).
- Ferdinand C. Weinert, Texas House and Texas Senate (1893–1935), Texas Secretary of State (1913).
- Louis Wigfall, U.S. Senate (1859–1861).
- Charles Wilson, U.S. House of Representatives (1973–1996).
See also 
- Texas Legislature
- Texas House of Representatives
- List of Presidents pro tempore of the Texas Senate
- Texas Government Newsletter Voting History of the Texas Legislature.
- Fikac,Peggy, August 21, 2003, Senators' 1870 walkout also drew GOP's wrath Reconstruction-era tiff led to arrests and one expulsion, San Antonio Express-News
- Democrat Mario Gallegos, Jr. (District 6) died October 16 and was reelected posthumously.
- Democrat Sylvia Garcia elected to succeed Gallegos.