The Texas State Legislature is the supreme legislative body of the state. The Texas legislature is bicameral. The upper body is the Senate and the lower body is the House of Representatives. The Senate is composed of 31 members and the House of Representatives is composed of 150 members. The chamber of legislature is in Austin.
The Legislature is considered the most powerful wing of the Texas government. The Legislature has the financial control over the direct activities of the state government. In 1845, Texas joined the U.S. union. The legislature is considered as the constitutional successor of the Congress of the Republic of Texas.
The candidates for senator must be above 26 years of age. Candidates must also be a citizen of Texas for five years prior to election and a resident of the district from which he/she is elected, one year prior to election. The term of a senator is four years and half of the senators are elected every two years in even-numbered years. However, 31 senate seats are up for election for the first legislature following the decennial census in order to reflect the newly redrawn districts. After preliminary election, the Senate is divided by lot into two classes, with one class having a re-election after two years and the other having a re-election after four years.
Candidates for the House of Representatives must be above 21 years of age. They must also be a citizen of Texas for two years prior to election and a resident of the district from which elected one year prior to election. The Representatives are elected for tenure of two years.
Regular session of the Legislature is on the second Tuesday in January of each odd numbered year. The regular session of the Texas Constitution is limited to 140 calendar days. The Lieutenant Governor is the presiding officer of the Senate. The Speaker of the House is elected from the body of Representatives. Both houses have ample liberty in selecting committee membership in their respective houses.
The Governor has the power to call the Legislature for special sessions. The Texas Constitution limits the duration of each special session to 30 days. Normally a bill passed by the Legislature takes effect 90 days after its passage. To have an immediate or retrospective effect, a bill must be validated by the two-thirds of each house.