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 ending 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. 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 20 Republicans and 11 Democrats, as of January 10, 2017.
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 Gallego 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 Craig Estes of District 30 (Wichita Falls). 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.
|Lieutenant Governor/President of the Senate||Dan Patrick||Republican||Houston|
|President Pro Tempore||Juan Hinojosa||Democrat||McAllen||20|
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)
|End of previous legislature||19||11||30||1|
|March 3, 2013||12||31||0|
|Latest voting share||64.5%||35.5%|
|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 in Van Zandt County||2014||2018||Dallas (part), Delta, Fannin, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Rains, Rockwall, Van Zandt|
|3||Robert Nichols||Republican||Jacksonville||2006||2018||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||2018||Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker, Williamson|
|6||Sylvia Garcia||Democratic||Houston||2013†||2020||Harris (part)|
|7||Paul Bettencourt||Republican||Houston||2014||2018||Harris (part)|
|8||Van Taylor||Republican||Plano||2014||2018||Collin (part), Dallas (part)|
|9||Kelly Hancock||Republican||Fort Worth||2012||2018||Dallas (part), Tarrant (part)|
|10||Konni Burton||Republican||Colleyville||2014||2018||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||Don Huffines||Republican||Dallas||2014||2018||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), Re fugio, Victoria, Waller, Washington|
|19||Carlos Uresti||Democratic||San Antonio||2006||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||Craig Estes||Republican||Wichita Falls||2000||2018||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