Introduction

Learning Objectives

At the end of this section you’ll be able to:

  • Understand the structure of the Texas State Legislature
  • Understand the duties and role of the Texas State Legislature

Structure

The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of Texas.

Article 3 of the Texas Constitution describes the legislative department (branch) of Texas. Texas Legislature utilizes a bicameral (two branches or chambers) system with the Texas Senate being the upper house, and the Texas House of Representatives the lower house. There are a total of 181 members of the Texas Legislature: 31 Senators, and 150 members of the House.

Duties and role

The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also due to Texas’s plural executive.

The duties of the legislature include consideration of proposed laws and resolutions, consideration of proposed constitutional amendments for submission to the voters, and appropriation of all funds for the operation of state government. All bills for raising revenue considered by the legislature must originate in the house of representatives. The house alone can bring impeachment charges against a statewide officer, which charges must be tried by the senate.

The Legislature is the constitutional successor of the Congress of the Republic of Texas since Texas’s 1845 entrance into the Union. The Legislature held its first regular session from February 16 to May 13, 1846.