Pictured: The Senate Chamber. Image from the Bullock Museum

The Texas Senate

The Texas Senate Chamber is located on the second floor of the east wing of the Texas State Capitol. Noteworthy features include “sunset red” granite steps leading into the chamber, 19th-century brass chandeliers, a gallery of historical Texas paintings (including an 1836 portrait of Stephen F. Austin), original walnut desks, and a podium from 1888.

From the Bullock Museum: “The window shutters, painted plaster walls and ceiling, carpet, and draperies are all replicas of the original fixtures and were recreated during the extensive restoration and preservation of the Capitol that took place from 1990 to 1995.”

In March 1918, the Texas Senate voted 18-4 to approve a bill allowing Texas women to vote in the upcoming primary election. On June 28, 1919, the Senate voted (via voice vote) to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote.

The Texas House of Representatives

Image from the Bullock Museum

The House Chamber, the largest room in the Capitol, is located on the second floor in the west wing. Like the Senate Chamber, it’s one of the few spaces in the Capitol still used for its original purpose; it was also restored to its early 20th-century appearance during the 1990s in a similar fashion to the Senate.

During legislative sessions, the original Battle of San Jacinto flag from the Texas Revolution hangs behind the House rostrum (raised platform for making speeches). Other interesting features include the chamber’s brown leather armchairs embossed with the State of Texas seal, oak desks (compared to the walnut desks in the Senate Chamber), two 19th century brass chandeliers, and portraits of Sam Houston and other early Texas leaders.

In a specially-called March 2018 legislative session, Representative Charles Metcalfe of San Angelo introduced a bill that granted suffrage to Texas women for the upcoming primary election. The bill was approved by a vote of 84 to 34, and after passing the Senate, Governor Hobby signed the bill into law on March 26. The following June, the House adopted a resolution ratifying the 19th Amendment by a vote of ninety-six to twenty-one.

Additional Learning:

“Panorama of the Texas Senate Chamber”—from the Texas State Preservation Board

“The Texas House of Representatives”—from the Bullock Museum