The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
is the presiding officer
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...
of the Texas House of Representatives
The Texas House of Representatives is the lower house of the Texas Legislature. The House is composed of 150 members elected from single-member districts across the state. The average district has about 150,000 people. Representatives are elected to two-year terms with no term limits...
. The Speaker's main duties are to conduct meetings of the House, appoint committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...
s, and enforce the Rules of the House. The current speaker is Joe Straus
Joseph R. Straus, III, known as Joe Straus , is the current Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. He represents District 121, which comprises northeastern Bexar County, including part of San Antonio, Texas, and several surrounding communities...
, a Republican
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...
from San Antonio
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...
, who was first elected Speaker on January 13, 2009.
The speaker is elected from the body of the House, by a vote of its fellow members. On the first day of each regular session, the members may nominate a fellow member, and a record vote is held to determine who the speaker will be. The Secretary of State calls the House to order, and presides over the chamber until a speaker is elected.
Duties and Responsibilities
The speaker is the presiding officer of the house of representatives. The
Texas Constitution requires the house of representatives, each time a new
legislature convenes, to choose one of its own members to serve as speaker.
As presiding officer, the speaker maintains order during floor debate,
recognizing legislators who wish to speak and ruling on procedural matters.
The constitution also requires the speaker to sign all bills and joint
resolutions passed by the legislature. As a member of the house of
representatives, the speaker may vote on all questions before the house.
The other duties and responsibilities of the speaker are determined by the
members of the house in the House Rules of Procedure, which are adopted by a
majority vote of the members at the beginning of each regular session of the
legislature. The members give the speaker the authority to appoint the
membership of each standing committee, subject to rules on seniority, and to
designate the chair and vice chair for each committee. Under the rules, the
speaker is responsible for referring all proposed legislation to committee,
subject to the committee jurisdictions set forth in the rules. The rules
also allow the speaker to appoint conference committees, to create select
committees, and to direct committees to conduct interim studies when the
legislature is not in session.