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Your Texas Leaders

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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.

Texas Senate

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.

Governor

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.

Lieutenant Governor

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.

Comptroller

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.

Legislative Committees

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

  • Appropriations Committee: where the state budget is developed
  • Calendars: determines if and when bills reported favorably out of committee will be heard on the House floor
  • Appropriations Sub-Committee on Business and Economic Development: covers issues including subsidized child care
  • Human Services: covers issues including public assistance, child protective services, CHIP, early childhood services, child care licensing
  • Criminal Jurisprudence: covers issues including juvenile crime and rehabilitation, regulation of sex offenders
  • Public Education: covers issues including pre-kindergarten, public school calendar, curriculum
  • Public Health: covers most health issues including chemical dependency treatment for minors, mental health
  • Ways and Means: covers issues including where tax bills must originate

Senate 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

Other State Agencies

Other Useful Links

 
For more information, get the Texans Care for Children Advocacy Manual.

 

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