The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas State Legislature. There are 31 members of the Senate, representing single-member districts across the U.S. state of Texas, with populations of approximately 806,000 per constituency, based on the 2010 U.S. Census. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. Elections are held in even-numbered years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In elections in years ending in 2, all seats are up for election. Half of the senators will serve a two-year term, based on a drawing; the other half will fill regular four-year terms. In the case of the latter, they or their successors will be up for two-year terms in the next year that ends in 0. As such, in other elections, about half of the Texas Senate is on the ballot. The Senate meets at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The Republicans currently control the chamber, which is made up of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
|Texas State Legislature|
New session started
|January 8, 2019|
President of the Senate
President Pro Tempore
Length of term
|Authority||Article 3, Texas Constitution|
|Salary||$7,200/year + per diem|
|November 6, 2018|
|November 3, 2020|
|State Senate Chamber|
Texas State Capitol
|Texas State Senate|
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas serves as the President of the Senate. Unlike most lieutenant governors who are constitutionally designated as presiding officers of the upper house, the Lieutenant Governor regularly exercises this function. The Lieutenant Governor's duties include appointing chairs of committees, committee members, assigning and referring bills to specific committees, recognizing members during debate, and making procedural rulings. The Lieutenant Governor may also cast a vote should a Senate floor vote end in a tie. If the Senate votes to dissolve itself into the Committee of the Whole, in which all members are part of the Committee, the President Pro-Tempore presides over the proceedings, with the Lieutenant Governor acting as a regular voting member. Due to the various powers of committee selection and bill assignment, the Lieutenant Governor is considered one of the most powerful lieutenant governorships in the United States.
Unlike other state legislatures, the Texas Senate does not include majority or minority leaders. Instead, the President Pro Tempore is considered the second most powerful position, and can be reserved to any political party in the chamber regardless if the party is a majority or not. Presidents Pro Tempore are usually the most senior members of the Senate. The President Pro Tempore presides when the Lieutenant Governor is not present or when the legislature is not in regular session.
For the 83rd Legislative Session, which began in 2013, there were six new senators, including Sylvia Garcia, who succeeded the late senator Mario Gallegos Jr. through a special election. The five other new senators were Charles Schwertner, a Republican from Georgetown, Ken Paxton, a Republican from McKinney, Kelly Hancock, a Republican from Fort Worth, Larry Taylor, a Republican from Friendswood, and Donna Campbell, a Republican from New Braunfels. For this term of the Legislature the President of the Senate is Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. The President Pro Tempore is Republican Kel Seliger of District 31 (Amarillo). Senator John Whitmire, a Democrat from Houston, is the Dean of the Senate, meaning he is the most senior member, having served since 1987. Senator Chris Harris, a Republican from Arlington, is the most senior member of his party, and the fourth most-senior overall member.
State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, won the Senate District 6 special election on December 11, 2018, to replace Sylvia Garcia, who resigned after she won a seat in the United States House of Representatives in the regular election.
|Lieutenant Governor/President of the Senate||Dan Patrick||Republican||Houston|
|President Pro Tempore||Kirk Watson||Democrat||Austin||14|
There have been at least three cases of quorum-busting in Texas Senate history. The first case was in 1870, with the Rump Senate, followed by the 1979 Killer Ds. and finally the Texas Eleven in August 2003, who were following the example of the Texas house Killer Ds.
The following represents the Senate committee structure for the 85th Legislature.
In addition, the House and Senate operate the permanent joint committee known as the Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|March 3, 2013||12||31||0|
|Latest voting share||61.3%||38.7%|
|1||Bryan Hughes||Republican||Mineola||2016||2020||Bowie, Camp, Cass, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Wood, Upshur|
|2||Bob Hall||Republican||Edgewood||2014||2022||Dallas (part), Delta, Fannin, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Rains, Rockwall, Van Zandt|
|3||Robert Nichols||Republican||Jacksonville||2006||2022||Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Hardin, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Montgomery (part), Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler|
|4||Brandon Creighton||Republican||The Woodlands||2014†||2020||Chambers, Galveston (part), Harris (part), Jefferson, Montgomery (part)|
|5||Charles Schwertner||Republican||Georgetown||2012||2022||Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker, Williamson|
|6||Carol Alvarado||Democratic||Houston||2018†||2020||Harris (part)|
|7||Paul Bettencourt||Republican||Houston||2014||2022||Harris (part)|
|8||Angela Paxton||Republican||Plano||2018||2022||Collin (part), Dallas (part)|
|9||Kelly Hancock||Republican||Fort Worth||2012||2022||Dallas (part), Tarrant (part)|
|10||Beverly Powell||Democratic||Fort Worth||2018||2022||Tarrant (part)|
|11||Larry Taylor||Republican||Friendswood||2012||2020||Brazoria (part), Galveston (part), Harris (part)|
|12||Jane Nelson||Republican||Flower Mound||1992||2020||Denton (part), Tarrant (part)|
|13||Borris Miles||Democratic||Houston||2016||2020||Fort Bend (part), Harris (part)|
|14||Kirk Watson||Democratic||Austin||2006||2018||Bastrop, Travis (part)|
|15||John Whitmire||Democratic||Houston||1982||2018||Harris (part)|
|16||Nathan Johnson||Democratic||Dallas||2018||2022||Dallas (part)|
|17||Joan Huffman||Republican||Southside Place||2008†||2018||Brazoria (part), Fort Bend (part), Harris (part)|
|18||Lois Kolkhorst||Republican||Katy||2014||2020||Aransas, Austin, Burleson, Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend (part), Goliad, Gonzales, Harris (part), Jackson, Lee, Matagorda, Nueces (part), Refugio, Victoria, Waller, Washington, Wharton|
|19||Pete Flores||Republican||Pleasanton||2018†||2020||Atascosa (part), Bexar (part), Brewster, Crockett, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Kinney, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Real, Reeves, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Zavala|
|20||Juan Hinojosa||Democratic||McAllen||2002||2020||Brooks, Hidalgo (part), Jim Wells, Nueces (part)|
|21||Judith Zaffirini||Democratic||Laredo||1986||2020||Atascosa (part), Bexar (part), Bee, Caldwell, Duval, Guadalupe (part), Live Oak, Jim Hogg, Karnes, La Salle, McMullen, San Patricio, Starr, Travis (part), Uvalde, Webb, Wilson, Zapata|
|22||Brian Birdwell||Republican||Granbury||2010†||2020||Bosque, Ellis, Falls, Hill, Hood (part), Frio, Johnson, McLennan, Navarro, Somervell, Tarrant (part)|
|23||Royce West||Democratic||Dallas||1992||2018||Dallas (part)|
|24||Dawn Buckingham||Republican||Horseshoe Bay||2016||2020||Bandera, Bell, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, Mills, San Saba, Taylor (part), Travis(part)|
|25||Donna Campbell||Republican||New Braunfels||2012||2018||Bexar (part), Travis (part), Comal, Hays, Kendall|
|26||Jose Menendez||Democratic||San Antonio||2015†||2020||Bexar (part)|
|27||Eddie Lucio Jr.||Democratic||Brownsville||1990||2020||Cameron, Hidalgo (part), Kenedy, Kleberg, Willacy|
|28||Charles Perry||Republican||Lubbock||2014†||2020||Baylor, Borden, Childress, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Cottle, Crane, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Eastland, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Hale, Hardeman, Haskell, Hockley, Irion, Jones, Kent, Kimble, King, Knox, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Mason, McColluch, Menard, Mitchell, Montague, Motley, Nolan, Reagan, Runnels, Sleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Terry, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Upton, Ward, Wheeler, Wilbarger, Young|
|29||José R. Rodríguez||Democratic||El Paso||2010||2020||Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio|
|30||Pat Fallon||Republican||Prosper||2018||2022||Archer, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, Young|
|31||Kel Seliger||Republican||Amarillo||2004†||2018||Andrews, Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Cochran, Collingsworth, Coke, Coleman, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Gray, Hall, Hartley, Hemphill, Hansford, Howard, Hutchinson, Jones, Lipscomb, Loving, Lynn, Martin, Midland, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, Winkler, Yoakum|
†Elected in a special election
Elections were held in Texas on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Primary elections were held on March 2, 2010.
The Republican Party continued its dominance over Texas politics, maintaining control of all statewide offices and increasing its majorities in both chambers of the Texas Legislature. The GOP also picked up control of three additional seats in the United States House of Representatives.Lieutenant Governor of Texas
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is the second-highest executive office in the government of Texas, a state in the U.S. It is the second most powerful post in Texas government because its occupant controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the Legislative Budget Board.
Under the provisions of the Texas Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Texas Senate. Unlike with most other states' senates and the U.S. Senate, the Lieutenant Governor regularly exercises this function rather than delegating it to the president pro tempore or a Majority Leader. By the rules of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor establishes all special and standing committees, appoints all chairpersons and members, and assigns all Senate legislation to the committee of his choice. The Lieutenant Governor decides all questions of parliamentary procedure in the Senate. He or she also has broad discretion in following Senate procedural rules.
The Lieutenant Governor is an ex officio member of several statutory bodies. These include the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislative Council, the Legislative Audit Committee, the Legislative Board and Legislative Council, which have considerable sway over state programs, the budget and policy. The Lieutenant Governor is also a member of the Legislative Redistricting Board (together with the Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Land Commissioner), which is charged with adopting a redistricting plan for the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives after the decennial census if the Legislature fails to do so.
In the case of a vacancy in the Lieutenant Governor's office, the Senate elects one of its members to act as President of the Senate until the next statewide office election, in effect becoming the Lieutenant Governor. A Senator elected as presiding officer in this way retains his district seat and the voting privileges entailed with his Senate election.
The Lieutenant Governor is sworn-in on the third Tuesday every four years, the same as the Governor.
Dan Patrick has been the Lieutenant Governor of Texas since January 20, 2015.
The term of office was two years from 1846 to 1972. Voters then increased it to four years, effective for the 1974 election. The Lieutenant Governor assumes the powers of the Governor of Texas when the governor is out of the state or otherwise unable to discharge the office. The Lieutenant Governor is elected separately from the Governor, rather than on the same ticket; it is therefore possible for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be from different political parties (which was the case during Governor George W. Bush's first term and also during Bill Clements's two non-consecutive terms). The Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor if the elected Governor resigns, dies or is removed from office via impeachment and conviction. Former Governor Rick Perry took office upon George W. Bush's resignation on December 21, 2000. Bush became US President on January 20, 2001. When Perry became lieutenant governor on 19 January 1999, he became the first Republican since Albert Jennings Fountain in 1873 to serve as lieutenant governor, and the first Republican to be elected as Lieutenant Governor since James W. Flanagan in 1869.Royce West
Royce Barry West (born 26 September 1952)
is an American Democratic politician and a member of the Texas Senate representing the Dallas-based 23rd District.Sylvia Garcia
Sylvia R. Garcia (born September 6, 1950) is an American politician who has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 29th congressional district seat since 2019. She was elected on November 6, 2018. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously represented District 6 in the Texas Senate.Texas Senate, District 10
District 10 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Tarrant county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 10 is Republican Konni Burton.Texas Senate, District 11
District 11 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 11 is Larry Taylor.Texas Senate, District 12
District 12 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Denton and Tarrant counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 12 is Jane Nelson.Texas Senate, District 13
District 13 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Fort Bend and Harris counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 13 is Borris Miles.Texas Senate, District 14
District 14 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Travis county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 14 is Kirk Watson.Texas Senate, District 15
District 15 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Harris county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 15 is John Whitmire.Texas Senate, District 16
District 16 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Dallas county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 16 is Nathan M. Johnson.Texas Senate, District 17
District 17 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Jefferson counties in the U.S. state of Texas. Senator Kyle Janek announced his resignation on May 29, 2008. Governor Rick Perry called for a special election to fill the vacancy on November 4, 2008. A runoff was held on December 16, 2008 which was won by Republican Joan Huffman.Texas Senate, District 25
District 25 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves all of Comal, Guadalupe, Hays and Kendall counties, and portions of Bexar and Travis counties in the U.S. state of Texas. Long-term District 25 Senator Jeff Wentworth, who lost the Republican runoff election on July 31, 2012, was succeed in the position in January 2013 by Donna Campbell, an emergency department physician from New Braunfels.Texas Senate, District 27
District 27 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves all of Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy counties and a portion of Hidalgo county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 27 is Eddie Lucio, Jr..Texas Senate, District 5
District 5 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that serves Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker and Williamson counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 5 is Charles Schwertner.Texas Senate, District 6
District 6 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that serves a portion of Harris county in the U.S. state of Texas. The seat is currently held by Sylvia Garcia, who won a 2013 special election after the death of Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr. on October 16, 2012.Texas Senate, District 7
District 7 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that serves a portion of Harris county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 7 is Paul Bettencourt.Texas Senate, District 8
District 8 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Collin and Dallas counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 8 is Angela Paxton.Texas Senate, District 9
District 9 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 9 is Kelly Hancock.