Texas government's key leaders, committees, and agencies affect the outcomes of policy decisions for children.
Below we share some information about the decision-making leaders and groups in Texas government.
Elected Leaders and Officials
Texas House of Representatives
The House consists of 150 members, elected every two years for two-year terms. Regular sessions are held every two years and all bills, resolutions, and pending matters are considered at this time.
The Senate consists of 31 members, half of whom are elected every two years for a four-year term. Regular sessions are held every two years and all bills, resolutions, and pending matters are considered at this time.
The Governor is elected every four years. He or she makes policy recommendations that members of the House and Senate may sponsor as bills; appoints the Secretary of State, as well as board members, commissioners, heads of state agencies, etc.; signs or vetoes all bills passed by the Legislature; and recommends state budgets.
In Texas, the Lieutenant Governor is elected directly by Texas voters, and has a role in both the executive and legislative branches. He or she not only is in second in line for the governorship, but also acts as the president of the Senate. Under current Senate rules, the lieutenant governor makes parliamentary decisions for the Senate, assigns committee chairs and membership, decides the order in which Senate bills will be considered, and handles other leadership duties for the upper chamber.
Speaker of the House
Like the Lieutenant Governor in the Senate, the Speaker is the presiding officer and leading decision-maker in the Texas House of Representatives. He or she is elected by the Representatives and presides over procedural matters in the lower chamber. The Speaker is also responsible for appointing leaders and members to various committees, referring bills to committees, and directing committees to study issues during the interim between legislative sessions, among other duties.
The Comptroller is elected every four years and is responsible for the collection of all state taxes, as well as forecasting future state revenues and conducting fiscal performance reviews of state agencies.
Legislative Budget Board (LBB)
The LBB is a permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature that is responsible for developing appropriations and recommendations for all state agencies. It has a director, who is appointed by the Board, and a permanent professional staff to perform research and financial analyses. Between regular legislative sessions, the LBB has authority to authorize deviations from the budget.
The LBB is made up of ten members of the Legislature. Statute requires the membership to include the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, Chairperson of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee, two House members appointed by the Speaker, and three Senate members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.
Each committee is composed of about 12 Representatives or Senators, appointed by the leader of their chamber (the Lieutenant Governor in the Senate or the Speaker in the House). The following list shows committees that often handle bills affecting children, along with examples of some of the issues that have fallen under their jurisdiction during recent sessions.
House of Representatives Committees
Business and Commerce: covers issues including subsidized child care
Finance: where the state budget is developed
Health and Human Services: covers issues including child protective services, CHIP, early childhood services, child care licensing
Jurisprudence: covers areas including public assistance
Education: covers issues including pre-kindergarten, public school calendar, curriculum
Texas State Agencies Dealing with Children
- Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) oversees the operations of the health and human services system and provides administrative oversight of Texas health and human services programs.
- Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) administers long-term services and supports for people who are aging and who have cognitive and physical disabilities.
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) improves health and well-being in Texas.
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) protects children, adults who are elderly or have disabilities, and licensing group day-care homes, day-care centers, and registered family homes.
- Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) works in partnership with Texans with disabilities and families with children who have developmental delays.
- Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) works in partnership with local juvenile boards and juvenile probation departments to support and enhance juvenile probation services. throughout the state.
- Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) oversees and provides workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas.
- Texas Youth Commission (TYC) operates juvenile correctional facilities and partners with youth, families, and communities to provide a safe and secure environment.
- Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) provides a formal structure for criminal justice, health and human services, and other affected organizations to communicate and coordinate on policy, legislative, and programmatic issues affecting offenders with special needs.
Other State Agencies
Other Useful Links
For more information, get the Texans Care for Children Advocacy Manual.