9 Qualifications and Organization

Learning Objectives

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

  • Discuss the structure of the Texas Legislature
  • Explain how Texas Congressional Districts are created
  • Describe the qualifications and to become a member of Texas Congress

Structure of Texas Legislature & Congressional Districts

Article 3 of the Texas Constitution describes the legislative department (branch) of Texas. Texas Legislature utilizes a bicameral 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. Texas uses “single-member districts,” meaning each member of the Texas Legislature represents one congressional district. Every ten years, after the U.S. census, the congressional districts are redrawn to maintain proportional representation (This is also called reapportionment).[1][2]

Texas Senate Congressional District Map
Texas Senate Congressional District Map
Texas House Congressional District Map
Texas House Congressional District Map

The redistricting process in Texas is as follows:

  1. U.S. Census conducted every 10 years and data is delivered to the Texas Legislator no later than April 1st of the year following the census;
  2. Texas Legislature begins to draw plans and enact a bill for the new state congressional district lines;
  3. If Legislature cannot enact a new congressional district map during the first regular session after the census has been conducted, then the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) becomes responsible for reapportionment[3]. The LRB is made up of the: Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Commission of the General Land Office.[4]

Texas Legislature uses biennial sessions which means they meet every two years on odd numbered years, for 140 days. The Governor has the power to call a special session outside of the “140 days.” Texas Legislature has two presiding officers: The Lieutenant Governor (currently Dan Patrick), who is elected by Texans, presides over the Texas Senate. The Speaker of the House (currently Joe Straus), is elected by members of the Texas House of Representatives, presides over the lower house. [5].

Qualifications to become a member of Texas Legislature

The following are the legal requirements in order for someone to meet the qualifications to become a member of the Texas Legislature. Texas legislators receive an annual salary of $7,200, plus a per diem of $190 for every day they are in session [6]:

  • 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
  • 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

  1. http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/districts/senate.html
  2. http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/districts/house.html
  3. Texas Constitution, Article 3, Section 28 (1951) created the LRB
  4. http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/process/LRB.html
  5. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/
  6. http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/guide/qualifications.shtml#b

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Texas Government by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book