Qualifications for Service and Terms of Office

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Understand the qualifications to be a member of Texas State House of Representatives
  • Understand the qualifications to be a member of Texas State Senate
  • Understand the terms of office for the Texas House and Senate
  • Understand the special nature of Senate elections at the beginning of a new decade

Qualifications

The following are the legal requirements in order for someone to meet the qualifications to become a member of the Texas Legislature.

  • Texas Representative (House)
    • U.S. Citizen
    • 2 years as a resident of Texas
    • 12 months as a resident of their District
    • At least 21 years old
    • 2 year terms with unlimited term limit
  • Texas Senator
    • U.S. Citizen
    • 5 years as a resident of Texas
    • 12 months as a resident of their District
    • At least 26 years old
    • 4 year terms with unlimited term limit

Senate elections at the beginning of a new decade

Each senator serves a four-year term and one-half of the Senate membership is elected every two years in even-numbered years, with the exception that all the Senate seats are up for election for the first legislature following the decennial census in order to reflect the newly redrawn districts. After the initial election, the Senate is divided by lot into two classes, with one class having a re-election after two years and the other having a re-election after four years. This process protects the Senate’s membership and the Senate as an institution serving as the more eltie legislative chamber during normal (i.e., not at the beginning of new decade) election cycles.