Texas House of Representatives
Texas House of Representatives
|Eighty-seventh Texas Legislature|
New session started
|January 12, 2021|
Speaker pro tempore
since July 15, 2021
Chair of the Republican Caucus
Chair of the Democratic Caucus
Length of term
|Authority||Article 3, Texas Constitution|
|Salary||$7,200/year + per diem|
|November 3, 2020|
|November 8, 2022|
|House of Representatives Chamber|
Texas State Capitol
|Texas House of Representatives|
The Texas House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Texas Legislature. It consists of 150 members who are elected from single-member districts for two-year terms. As of the 2010 United States census, each member represents about 167,637 people. There are no term limits. The House meets at the State Capitol in Austin.
|Speaker of the House||Dade Phelan||Republican||Beaumont||21|
|Speaker Pro Tempore||Vacant|
|Republican Caucus Chair||Stephanie Klick||Republican||Fort Worth||91|
|Democratic Caucus Chair||Chris Turner||Democratic||Grand Prairie||101|
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer and highest-ranking member of the House. The Speaker's duties include maintaining order within the House, recognizing members during debate, ruling on procedural matters, appointing members to the various committees and sending bills for committee review. The Speaker pro tempore is primarily a ceremonial position, but does, by long-standing tradition, preside 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. The unofficial leaders are the Republican Caucus Chairman and the Democratic House Leader, both of whom are elected by their respective caucuses.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|March 6, 2021||83||150||0|
|July 30, 2021||82||149||1|
|August 19, 2021||66||148||2|
|October 12, 2021||83||149||1|
|November 3, 2021||84||150||0|
|November 15, 2021||85||65|
|Latest voting share||57%||43%|
List of current representatives
Notable past members
- Eligio (Kika) De La Garza, II, first Mexican-American to represent his region in the US House and the second Mexican-American from Texas to be elected to Congress (1965–1997).
- Ray Barnhart, Federal Highway Administrator (1981–1987)
- Anita Lee Blair, first blind woman elected to a state legislature
- Jack Brooks, U.S. House of Representatives (1953–1995)
- Dolph Briscoe, Governor of Texas (1973–1979)
- Frank Kell Cahoon, Midland County oilman and representative from 1965 to 1969; only Republican member in 1965 legislative session
- Carter Casteel, state House member, 2003–2007; former school board member and county judge in Comal County, lawyer in New Braunfels
- Joaquin Castro, U.S. Representative (2013–present)
- Tom DeLay, U.S. Representative (1985–2006) and House Majority Leader (2003–2005)
- John Nance Garner, U.S. 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 to 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
- Suzanna Hupp, House of Representatives (1997–2007), survived the Luby's shooting, went on to champion individual gun ownership and carry rights.
- Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Senator (1993–2013)
- Ray Hutchison, husband of Kay Bailey Hutchison
- Eddie Bernice Johnson, first Black woman ever elected to public office from Dallas, first woman in Texas history to lead a major Texas House committee (the Labor Committee), and the first registered nurse elected to Congress.
- Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr., father of President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
- Dan Kubiak, representative from Rockdale known for his support of public education
- Mickey Leland, U.S. House of Representatives (1979–1989), died in a plane crash.
- 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, longest serving Governor of Texas, (2000–2015) and former U.S. Secretary of Energy (2017-2019).
- 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. Representative (1913–1961) and longest served Speaker of the House (1940–1947, 1949–1953, 1955–1961)
- Coke R. Stevenson, Governor of Texas (1941–1947)
- Sarah Weddington, attorney for "Jane Roe" for the 1973 Roe v. Wade case in the U.S. Supreme Court
- Ferdinand C. Weinert, coauthored bill to establish the Pasteur Institute of Texas, authored resolution for humane treatment of state convicts, coauthored the indeterminate sentence and parole law. Also served as Texas Secretary of State
- Charles Wilson, U.S. House of Representatives (1973–1996), subject of the book and film Charlie Wilson's War
Speaker of the House
The Speaker of the House of Representatives has duties as a presiding officer as well as administrative duties. As a presiding officer, the Speaker must enforce, apply, and interpret the rules of the House, call House members to order, lay business in order before the House and receive propositions made by members, refer proposed legislation to a committee, preserve order and decorum, recognize people in the gallery, state and hold votes on questions, vote as a member of the House, decide on all questions to order, appoint the Speaker Pro Tempore and Temporary Chair, adjourn the House in the event of an emergency, postpone reconvening in the event of an emergency, and sign all bills, joint resolutions, and concurrent resolutions. The administrative duties of the Speaker include having control over the Hall of the House, appointing chair, vice-chair, and members to each standing committee, appointing all conference committees, and directing committees to make interim studies.
The Chief Clerk is the head of the Chief Clerk's Office which maintains a record of all authors who sign legislation, maintains and distributes membership information to current house members, and forwards copies of legislation to house committee chairs. The Chief Clerk is the primary custodian of all legal documents within House. Additional duties include keeping a record of all progress on a document, attesting all warrants, writs, and subpoenas, receiving and filing all documents received by the house, and maintaining the electronic information and calendar for documents. When there is a considerable update of the electronic source website, the Chief Clerk is also responsible for noticing House members via email.
- Agriculture and Livestock
- Appropriations[note 1]
- Subcommittee on Articles I, IV & V
- Subcommittee on Article II
- Subcommittee on Article III
- Subcommittee on Articles VI, VII & VIII
- Subcommittee on Infrastructure, Resiliency & Invest
- Business & Industry
- County Affairs
- Criminal Jurisprudence
- Culture, Recreation & Tourism
- Defense & Veterans' Affairs
- Energy Resources
- Environmental Regulation
- General Investigating
- Higher Education
- Homeland Security & Public Safety
- House Administration
- Human Services
- International Relations & Economic Development
- Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
- Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
- Land & Resource Management
- Licensing & Administrative Procedures
- Local & Consent Calendars
- Natural Resources
- Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
- Public Education
- Public Health
- Resolutions Calendar
- State Affairs
- Urban Affairs
- Ways & Means
In addition to these committees, there are also six joint committees composed of members of both the State House and Senate:
- Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight
- Legislative Audit Board
- Legislative Budget Board
- Legislative Library Board
- Sunset Advisory Commission
- Texas Legislative Council
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, said that the fight was about Craddick consolidating power with lobbyists and using campaign contributions to maintain control of the House: "This is about the convergence of money and power and influence."
In January 2009, Craddick lost the Speaker's chair after a challenge from Joe Straus.
Cook committee hearing closure controversy (2013)
On June 20, 2013 Byron Cook served as chairman of the House State Affairs Committee hearing on Texas State House Bill 60. Cook's stance was for the passing of the bill and during the hearing he interrupted a testimony, saying "Some of us do (adopt children)." At 12:00 AM on June 21, Cook decided to close the hearing prematurely. Cook's explanation for breaching Texas State Legislature operating procedures was that the testimonies being heard had become repetitive. Twenty-four minutes later, Cook became personally offended by a testimony, ordering the cameras to be shut off and leaving the room of committee members and witnesses. Approximately 20 minutes afterwards, Cook was persuaded by colleagues to resume the hearing and continued listening to testimonies until he prematurely closed the hearing at 1:30 AM.
2021 quorum bust
On July 12, 2021, during a special session, at least 51 Democratic members of the House fled the state in two charter jets bound for Washington, D.C., in an effort to block Republican-backed election legislation from passing. The lawmakers plan to spend more than three weeks in Washington, running out the clock on the session, which began July 8, and advocating for federal voting legislation such as the For the People Act.
Governor Abbott was reported as saying that he would arrest the representatives upon return to the state and force them into attendance, and that he would call successive special sessions until the bill is voted on. The special session expired on August 6, however Abbott called a second session which began the next day. State District Judge Brad Urrutia granted a restraining order on August 9 temporarily protecting the absent Democrats from arrest by the state, however this restraining order was voided by the Texas Supreme Court the next day. On August 10, with the chamber still lacking a quorum, Speaker Dade Phelan issued arrest warrants for the 52 absent Democratic members of the House.
- The biennial appropriations bill is divided into eight Articles: General Government (I), Health and Human Services (II), Agencies of Education (III), The Judiciary (IV), Public Safety and Criminal Justice (V), Natural Resources (VI), Business and Economic Development (VII), and Regulatory (VIII). See http://gov.texas.gov/budget for an example of a budget showing the Articles.
- Republican Drew Springer (District 68) resigned intersession on December 19, 2020 after being elected in a special election to the Texas Senate.
- Republican David Spiller sworn in to succeed Springer.
- Republican Jake Ellzey (District 10) resigned after being elected to the United States Congress.
- Democrat Leo Pacheco (District 118) resigned 
- Republican Brian Harrison sworn in to succeed Ellzey.
- Republican John Lujan sworn in to succeed Pacheco.
- Ryan Guillen (District 31) switched parties from Democratic to Republican.
- Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-2012. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2013. p. 422. ISBN 016092068X.
- "Texas House Rules" (PDF). Texas House of Representatives. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
- "Service Providers". Guide to Texas Legislative Information. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
- 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"
- R.G. Ratcliffe and Gary Scharrer. "The House struggles to move forward". Houston Chronicle, chron.com (May 27, 2007). Retrieved May 27, 2007.
- "Anti-Abortion Bills Back on the Table". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "House panel quickly OKs 3 abortion bills". www.statesman.com. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- Timm, Jane C. (July 12, 2021). "Texas Democrats flee state in effort to block GOP-backed voting restrictions". NBC News.
- Allen, Mike (July 13, 2021). "Texas Dems fly to Swamp to run out clock". Axios. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
- Barrágan, James (August 10, 2021). "Texas Supreme Court allows for arrest of Democrats who don't show up to Legislature". The Texas Tribune.
- Blankley, Bethany (August 11, 2021). "Texas Speaker Phelan signs arrest warrants for 52 AWOL House Democrats". Tyler Morning Telegraph.