Office of House Bill AnalysisH.J.R. 70
By: Keffer
State Affairs


The composition of the Texas House of Representative has varied drastically
over the past century and a half.  Between the 1st Legislative Session and
the 33rd Legislative Session, House membership increased from 66 members in
1864, to 142 by 1913.  However, the composition has remained at its current
constitutional limit of 150 members since 1923, while Texas' population has
increased significantly.  In 1923, Texas had a total population of a little
over 4.5 million, and today the population is roughly 19 million. 

While representing roughly the same number of constituents as an urban
legislator, the demands placed on a rural representative are different.
For example, an urban legislator may represent 115,000 people within a 20
square mile radius, all within one community and one county. Comparatively,
a rural legislator may represent the same amount of people, but within a
20,000 or 33,000 square mile radius, with maybe 20 to 30 communities within
around 10 to 17 different counties.   

As proposed, H.J.R. 70 requires the submission to the voters of a
constitutional amendment allowing the membership of the Texas House of
Representatives to increase by five members after each federal decennial
census until the federal decennial census for the year 2100, provided that
the total membership does not exceed 200. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 2, Article III, Texas Constitution, as follows:

Sec. 2.  Requires the Senate to consist of 31 members.  Deletes requirement
for the Senate to never increase above 31 members.  Requires the House of
Representatives (House) to consist of 150, rather than ninety-three,
members until the first apportionment that occurs after the publication of
the federal decennial census for the year 2000.  Requires five additional
members to be elected to the House, beginning with that apportionment and
at the first apportionment that occurs after each federal decennial census
before the federal decennial census for the year 2100.  Deletes text
referring to prior provisions of apportionment. 

SECTION 2.  Requires this proposed constitutional amendment to be submitted
to the voters at an election to be held November 2, 1999.  Sets forth the
required language for the ballot.