Jim Murphy (Texas politician)

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James Richard "Jim" Murphy
Jim Murphy Headshot.JPG
Texas State Representative from
District 133 (Houston)
In office
January 9, 2007 – January 13, 2009
Preceded by Joe Nixon
Succeeded by Kristi Thibaut
Assumed office
January 11, 2011
Preceded by Kristi Thibaut
Personal details
Born (1957-12-08) December 8, 1957 (age 58)
Houston, Texas, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathleen J. Pace-Murphy
Children Robert and Pace Murphy
Residence Houston, Texas
Alma mater

Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School

University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Real estate businessman
Religion Roman Catholic

James Richard Murphy, known as Jim Murphy (born December 8, 1957), is a businessman from his native Houston, Texas, who is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives.[1] From 2007 to 2009 and again since 2011, he has represented District 133 in Harris County.[2]

Murphy won a fourth nonconsecutive term in the state House in the general election held on November 4, 2014. He defeated the Democrat Laura Nicol, 34,530 (74.6 percent) to 11,754 (25.4 percent).[3]


A Houston native, Murphy graduated in 1976 from the Roman Catholic-affiliated Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School. In 1980, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin.[4]

In 1986, Murphy, a Realtor, became the president and executive director of Westchase District Management Services, a 4.2-square-mile municipal management district in west Houston which has drawn more than $2 billion in new investment and created thousands of jobs.[5] He is currently general manager to the district.[6]

A former member of the Jaycees, Murphy is affiliated with the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, the Houston Association of Realtors, and the Urban Land Institute. He sits on the board of West Houston Medical Center.[1] He is a founder and vice chair of the Alief Education Foundation in the community of Alief. The University of Texas regents appointed Murphy to the advisory council of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institutes, named for the late state attorney general, John Ben Shepperd.[5]

Murphy is married to Kathleen J. Pace-Murphy (born c. 1959), a Ph.D. and an endowed professor at the Houston School of Nursing within the University of Texas System. An authority on chronic illness in the elderly, Pace-Murphy is a geriatric nurse practitioner.[7] The Murphys have two sons, Robert and Pace,[1] who is a football player for the Northwestern State Demons in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[8] Murphy coaches youth sports and is a member of the pastoral council of Saint Cyril'’s Catholic Church in Houston. The Murphys reside in the Village Place section of Houston.[1]

Political life[edit]

From 1997 to 2006, Murphy served two elected terms on the trustee board of Houston Community College, one of the largest college systems in the nation.[5]

In 1994, Murphy ran last in a four-candidate Republican primary field for House District 133. Nomination and election instead went to Houston attorney Joe Nixon, who thereafter served six terms in the post. Murphy that year received 2,317 votes (22 percent).[9] In 2006, Nixon left the House seat to run unsuccessfully for the District 7 seat in the Texas State Senate. Murphy and two others hence entered the primary election to choose a successor. Murphy finished second to Mike Schofield, an advisor to Governor Rick Perry, 1,783 votes (33.7 percent) to 1,853 (35 percent). Schofield and Murphy then entered into runoff competition. The third candidate, Barbara Larson, held the remaining but critical 1,651 votes (32.2 percent).[10] In the second round of balloting, Murphy defeated Schofield, 1,775 (52.6 percent) to 1,599 (47.4 percent).[11] In the general election Murphy defeated the Democrat Kristi Thibaut, 11,693 (55.8 percent) to 8,750 (41.7 percent). The remaining 522 votes (2.5 percent) was held by the Libertarian Party nominee, Chris Camero.[12]

After one term in the legislature, Murphy was unseated in the 2008 general election by Kristi Thibaut, his Democratic opponent from 2006. This time, she polled 20,219 votes (50.6 percent) to Murphy's 19,722 (49.4 percent).[12] Then Murphy unseated Thibaut after her one term in the House in the general election held on November 2, 2010, 15,120 (56.3 percent) to 11,403 (42.4 percent). The remaining 1.3 percent went to the Libertarian Party choice, Alfred Noel Montestruc (born c. 1958).[13]

Murphy won renomination on May 29, 2012, by defeating intraparty rival Ann Witt, 11,443 votes (61.1 percent) to 7,279 (38.9 percent).[14] On March 4, 2014, he was renominated without opposition in the primary; he faces the Democrat Laura Nicol in the general election scheduled for November 4.[1] Meanwhile, Michael Schofield, his intraparty rival from 2006, won the May 27 runoff election for the neighboring District 132 House seat to succeed the retiring Republican lawmaker, Bill Callegari of Katy, a Houston suburb.[15] In 2015, Murphy will hence sit in the House alongside his 2006 intraparty opponent, Mike Scofield, the representative from neighboring District 132.

Murphy currently sits on these House committees: (1) Corrections (Chair) (2) Ways and Means. In 2007, he was elected president of the freshman class in the House.[5] During his first term, he authored and passed 15 bills, the most by any first-time member.[16] During the 84th Legislative Session, Murphy was elected Texas House Republican Caucus Floor Leader.[17]

Legislative Voting Records[edit]

In 2013, Representative Murphy supported the ban on abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; the measure passed the House, 96-49. He co-sponsored companion legislation to increase medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers,[18] a move which opponents said could lead to the closure of many abortion clinics in the state. These issues brought forth an unsuccessful filibuster in the state Senate by Wendy R. Davis of Fort Worth, who in 2014 was the Democratic nominee for governor against the Republican Greg Abbott.[19] In 2011, Murphy voted for two other anti-abortion measures. One forbids state funding of agencies which perform abortions. The other requires that a woman undergo a sonogram before procuring an abortion. This legislation is based on the view that a woman could change her mind about an abortion once she witnesses the development of the unborn child through the latest technology.[18] The Texas Right to Life Committee, according to Project Vote Smart, rated Murphy 78 percent favorable in 2013, and 85 percent in 2011. The National Abortion Rights Action League rated him 0 percent in his first term in 2007.[20]

Murphy voted for the implementation of the taxpayer-funded school breakfast program, which passed the House, 73-58. He co-sponsored legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. He co-sponsored the successful bill to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses. Murphy voted for the adoption of the biennial state budgets in 2011 and 2013. He voted to require testing for narcotics of those individuals receiving unemployment compensation.[18]

Murphy voted for the bill to prohibit the state government from engaging in the enforcement of federal regulations of firearms. He co-sponsored the bill to allow college and university officials to carry concealed weapons in buildings and vehicles in the name of campus security. He supported the bill to reduce the time required to obtain a concealed-carry permit. He backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives. He voted against term limits for certain state officials. He voted against the bill to ban texting while driving. Murphy voted against an "equal pay for women" bill,[18] which passed the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Perry.[21]

In 2011, Murphy supported a resolution to reduce funding for state agencies, which passed the House, 84-63. He voted to extend the sales tax to Internet transactions to match existing laws for brick and mortar stores; the measure passed the House, 125-20. Murphy voted against the prohibition of smoking in public places, which nevertheless passed the House, 73-66. He voted to establish eligibility for indigent health care. He voted to establish corporal punishment in public schools; the bill passed the House, 80-64. Murphy voted to require that student centers at state colleges and university be mindful of traditional family values; the measure passed the House, 110-24.[18]

To guarantee the integrity of the election process, Murphy supported picture identification of voters.[18] The law finally took effect in October 2013 and was used widely without incident for the first time in the primaries on March 4, 2014.[22] In 2013, Murphy supported related legislation to forbid a voter from turning in multiple ballots.[18] Murphy sponsored a bill to require training every two years for deputy registrars. The liberal political action committee Battleground Texas criticized Murphy's legislation as having created an unnecessary barrier to adding new voters to the rolls. Murphy, however, said the law prevents deputy registrars from using the excuse of "I didn't know I couldn't do that" should they violate safeguards in signing up new voters.[23]

84th Legislative Session (2015)[edit]

Murphy authored HB 931, which incentivizes Texans on unemployment insurance to find suitable new work as quickly as possible. HB 1481 makes it an act of criminal trespass to fly a remotely piloted vehicle over critical infrastructure, such as refineries, at a height of 400 ft and below. HB 2776 allows the Texas Insurance Commissioner to approve homeowners premium discounts based on claims history. The bill provides consumers with more residential insurance discounts and increased competition in the insurance market. SB 761 (companion) repeals the 2% fireworks sales tax and requires that an equal amount be deposited to the credit of the rural volunteer fire department insurance fund. SB 752 (companion) repeals the state inheritance tax. With the repeal, the Texas Comptroller of Public accounts can redploy resources from this outdated tax to other areas deemed more important.

Interest group ratings[edit]

Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, managed in Texas by Cathie Adams, a former state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, rated Murphy 73 percent favorable in 2013, 36 percent in 2011, and 84 percent in 2007. The Young Conservatives of Texas in 2013 netted him a lifeime score of 69 percent. The interest group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, founded by Michael Quinn Sullivan, rated Murphy 51 percent favorable in 2013, 75 percent in 2011, and 80 percent in 2007. The Texas Association of Business gave him a cumulative score of 90 percent and in 2013 alone 100 percent. The Texas League of Conservation Voters rated Murphy 79 percent in 2013; the Sierra Club, 27 percent in 2011. The National Rifle Association scored him 92 percent and "A" in his previous legislative sessions. In 2007, the Libertarian Party of Texas rated Murphy 28 percent on personal liberties and 76 percent on economic issues.[20]

Opposition to Franchise Tax[edit]

Murphy advocates the repeal of the Texas state franchise tax, which he claims has failed to generate the promised revenue for additional educational funding and moreover imposes excessive compliance costs on business. Murphy urged his colleagues to select a tax cut which will bring immediate and long-term benefits: "[We need] meaningful tax relief that stimulates our economy without exceeding our constitutional spending cap." Murphy said the state has more than $7 billion in unspent revenues in 2015 and that such funds should be returned to taxpayers.[24]

In 2015, Murphy continued his pursuit of a franchise tax repeal. He authored HB 193, a bill phasing-out the franchise tax over 4 years, which did not pass.[25] He also joint-authored HB 32, which successfully cut the franchise tax by 25% for Texas businesses. Many view this as a good starting point for a full repeal of the tax in the future.[26]

Committee Appointments[edit]

Legislative Session Committee
80th (2007) Urban Affairs (vice-chair), Transportation, Rules and Resolutions[27]
82nd (2011) Manufacturing, Interim (chair), Partnership Advisory Commission (chair), Economic and Small Business Development, Ways and Means[28]
83rd (2013) Economic and Small Business Development - S/C Manufacturing (chair), Partnership Advisory Commission (chair), Education Policy for a Skilled Workforce (cochair), Economic and Small Business Development, Higher Education[28]
84th (205) Corrections (chair), Ways and Means[29]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Jim Murphy's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jim Murphy". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ "General election returns, November 4, 2014". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ "State Rep. Jim Murphy District 133 (R-Houston)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Jim Murphy Biography" (PDF). Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Contact - Westchase District". Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Kathleen Pace-Murphy, Ph.D.". tcmnews.org. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Pace Murphy, 2014 Demon Football". Northwestern State Demons. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 8, 1994 (House District 133)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 2006 (House District 133)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Republican runoff election returns, April 2006 (House District 133)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "General election returns, November 7, 2006 (House District 133)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ "General election returns, November 2, 2010 (House District 133)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Republican primary returns, May 29, 2012 (House District 133)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Republican primary returns, March 4, 2014 (House District 132)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Houston Events | Greater Houston Partnership (GHP)". events.houston.org. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  17. ^ "About the Caucus :: Texas House Republican Caucus". www.texashousecaucus.com. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "Jim Murphy's Voting Records". votesmart.org. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  19. ^ M. Fernandez (June 25, 2013). "Filibuster in Texas Senate Tries to Halt Abortion Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Jim Murphy's Ratings and Endorsements". votesmart.org. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Legislative Session: 83 (R) Relating to unlawful employment practices regarding discrimination in payment of compensation". Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Texas Voter ID Officially Takes Effect, October 21, 2013". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  23. ^ "New voters eyed", Laredo Morning Times, December 26, 2014, p. 6A
  24. ^ "Op-Ed from Rep. Jim Murphy", Austin Report, Vol. 1, No. 3 (March 2015), p. 3, Texas Citizens Coalition Action Center
  25. ^ "Texas Legislature Online - 82(R) History for HB 193". www.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  26. ^ "State's franchise tax is universally despised in Texas Capitol". Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  27. ^ "Texas Legislature Online - 80th Legislature - Information for Rep. Jim Murphy". www.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  28. ^ a b "Texas Legislature Online - 82nd Legislature - Information for Rep. Jim Murphy". www.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  29. ^ "Texas Legislature Online - 84th Legislature - Information for Rep. Jim Murphy". www.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
Political offices
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joe Nixon (ran for Texas State Senate)
Texas State Representative from
District 133 (Houston)

James Richard "Jim" Murphy

Succeeded by
Kristi Thibaut
Preceded by
Kristi Thibaut
Texas State Representative from
District 133 (Houston)

James Richard "Jim" Murphy

Succeeded by