Texas Senate

Coordinates: 30°16′28″N 97°44′24″W / 30.274537°N 97.739906°W / 30.274537; -97.739906
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Texas Senate
Eighty-seventh Texas Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 10, 2023
Dan Patrick (R)
since January 20, 2015
Kelly Hancock (R)
since January 10, 2023
Majority Leader
Paul Bettencourt (R)
since January 26, 2016
Minority Leader
Carol Alvarado (D)
since January 8, 2020
Texas Senate 2022.svg
Political groups
  •   Republican (19)


Length of term
4 years (with one 2-year term each decade)
AuthorityArticle 3, Texas Constitution
Salary$7,200/year + per diem
Last election
November 8, 2022
(31 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024
(15 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting place
Austin, Texas (2018) - 084.jpg
State Senate Chamber
Texas State Capitol
Austin, Texas
Texas State Senate

The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas Legislature, with the Texas House of Representatives being the lower house. Together, they compose the state legislature of the state of Texas.

There are 31 members of the Senate, representing single-member districts across the U.S. state of Texas, with populations of approximately 940,000 per constituency, based on the 2020 U.S. Census. Elections are held in even-numbered years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

There are no term limits. Terms are four years in length, with one two-year term each decade. Senators are divided into two groups based in part on the intervening Census:

  • In elections in years ending in 2 (the election after the Census), all 31 seats are up for election.
  • Once the Senate meets in session after said election, the Senators will participate in a drawing to determine their election cycle:
    • One-half will have a 2-4-4 cycle, whereupon the seat would stand for election in two years (the year ending in 4), followed by two four-year cycles (the years ending in 8 and 2).
    • The other half will have a 4-4-2 cycle, whereupon the seat would stand for election in four years (the year ending in 6), followed by another four-year cycle (the year ending in 0) but then the seat would stand for election in only two years (the year ending in 2).

As such, every two years, about half of the Texas Senate is on the ballot.

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. Unlike most lieutenant governors who are constitutionally designated as presiding officers of the upper house, the Lieutenant Governor regularly exercises this function. The Lieutenant Governor's duties include 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 presides 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 of Texas 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. Presidents Pro Tempore are usually the most senior members of the Senate. The President Pro Tempore presides when the Lieutenant Governor is not present or when the legislature is not in regular session.


Position Name Party Residence District
Lieutenant Governor/President of the Senate Dan Patrick Republican Houston Elected Statewide
President Pro Tempore Kelly Hancock Republican Fort Worth 9



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[1] and finally the "Texas Eleven" in August 2003 during the controversial mid-decade redistricting plan at the time.[2]

Committee Structure[edit]

The following represents the Senate committee structure for the 88th Legislature (numbers in parentheses are the number of committee members, as appointed by the President of the Texas Senate).[3]

  • Administration (7)
  • Border Security (5)
  • Business and Commerce (11)
  • Criminal Justice (7)
  • Education (13)
    • Under this Committee, a Subcommittee on Higher Education (5)
  • Finance (17)
  • Health & Human Services (9)
  • Jurisprudence (5)
  • Local Government (9)
  • Natural Resources and Economic Development (9)
  • Nominations (9)
  • State Affairs (11)
  • Transportation (9)
  • Veteran Affairs (7)
  • Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (9)

In addition, the House and Senate operate the permanent joint committee known as the Legislative Budget Board (LBB).

Current composition[edit]

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democrat Vacant
January, 2023 19 12 31 0
Latest voting share 61% 39%
Senate Districts and Party Affiliation after the 2022 election
  Republican Party
  Democratic Party

List of members[edit]

District Senator Party Residence First
Counties represented
1 Bryan Hughes Republican Mineola 2016 2026 Bowie, Camp, Cass, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Wood, Upshur
2 Bob Hall Republican Edgewood 2014 2026 Dallas (part), Delta, Fannin, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Rains, Rockwall, Van Zandt
3 Robert Nichols Republican Jacksonville 2006 2026 Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Hardin, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Montgomery (part), Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler
4 Brandon Creighton Republican The Woodlands 2014† 2026 Chambers, Galveston (part), Harris (part), Jefferson, Montgomery (part)
5 Charles Schwertner Republican Georgetown 2012 2026 Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker, Williamson
6 Carol Alvarado Democratic Houston 2018† 2024 Harris (part)
7 Paul Bettencourt Republican Houston 2014 2024 Harris (part)
8 Angela Paxton Republican Plano 2018 2024 Collin (part), Dallas (part)
9 Kelly Hancock Republican Fort Worth 2012 2026 Dallas (part), Tarrant (part)
10 Phil King Republican Weatherford 2022 2024 Tarrant (part)
11 Mayes Middleton Republican Galveston 2022 2026 Brazoria (part), Galveston (part), Harris (part)
12 Tan Parker Republican Flower Mound 2022 2024 Denton (part), Tarrant (part)
13 Borris Miles Democratic Houston 2016 2026 Fort Bend (part), Harris (part)
14 Sarah Eckhardt Democratic Austin 2020† 2024 Bastrop, Travis (part)
15 John Whitmire Democratic Houston 1982 2024 Harris (part)
16 Nathan M. Johnson Democratic Dallas 2018 2024 Dallas (part)
17 Joan Huffman Republican Southside Place 2008† 2024 Brazoria (part), Fort Bend (part), Harris (part)
18 Lois Kolkhorst Republican Katy 2014 2026 Aransas, Austin, Burleson, Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend (part), Goliad, Gonzales, Harris (part), Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Nueces (part), Refugio, Victoria, Waller, Washington, Wharton
19 Roland Gutierrez Democratic San Antonio 2020 2026 Atascosa (part), Bexar (part), Brewster, Crockett, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Kinney, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Real, Reeves, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Zavala
20 Juan Hinojosa Democratic McAllen 2002 2024 Brooks, Hidalgo (part), Jim Wells, Nueces (part)
21 Judith Zaffirini Democratic Laredo 1986 2026 Atascosa (part), Bee, Bexar (part), Caldwell, Duval, Guadalupe (part), Hays (part), Jim Hogg, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, San Patricio, Starr, Travis (part), Webb, Wilson, Zapata
22 Brian Birdwell Republican Granbury 2010† 2026 Bosque, Ellis, Falls, Frio, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan, Navarro, Somervell, Tarrant (part)
23 Royce West Democratic Dallas 1992 2024 Dallas (part), Tarrant (part)
24 Pete Flores Republican Pleasanton 2022 2026 Bandera, Bell, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, Mills, San Saba, Taylor (part), Travis(part)
25 Donna Campbell Republican New Braunfels 2012 2024 Bexar (part), Comal, Guadalupe (part) Hays (part), Kendall, Travis (part)
26 Jose Menendez Democratic San Antonio 2015† 2026 Bexar (part)
27 Morgan LaMantia Democratic South Padre Island 2022 2024 Cameron, Hidalgo (part), Kenedy, Kleberg, Willacy
28 Charles Perry Republican Lubbock 2014† 2026 Baylor, Borden, Childress, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Cottle, Crane, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Eastland, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Hale, Hardeman, Haskell, Hockley, Irion, Jones, Kent, Kimble, King, Knox, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Mason, McColluch, Menard, Mitchell, Motley, Nolan, Reagan, Runnels, Sleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Taylor (part), Terry, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Upton, Ward, Wilbarger
29 Cesar Blanco Democratic El Paso 2020 2024 Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio
30 Drew Springer Republican Vernon 2020† 2024 Archer, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, Young
31 Kevin Sparks Republican Midland 2022 2026 Andrews, Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Cochran, Collingsworth, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Howard, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Loving, Martin, Midland, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, Winkler, Yoakum

†Elected in a special election

Notable past members[edit]

Past composition of the Senate[edit]

The Senate was continuously held by Democrats from the end of the Reconstruction era until the Seventy-fifth Texas Legislature was seated in 1997, at which point Republicans took control. The Republican Party has maintained its control of the Senate since then.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "12 Texas State Senators, Claiming Political Victory, Come Out of Hiding". New York Times. May 23, 1979. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - 2nd Day".

External links[edit]

30°16′28″N 97°44′24″W / 30.274537°N 97.739906°W / 30.274537; -97.739906