Organizations have both a formal-legal structure - often created by a charter like a constitution or articles of incorporation - and an informal structure or organizational norms - created by tradition, habit, and often unspoken practices and beliefs. The formal-legal qualifications for the membership in the Texas legislature are quite simple and not restrictive. The informal requirements for membership have historically worked to create a relatively homogeneous legislature dominated by socially conservative, white males. In recent decades, the barriers created by informal qualifications have been lowered by legal and cultural changes that have admitted a somewhat broader array of Texans into legislative offices.
The video features on the right-hand side of the page feature current and former Texas state legislators discussing how they got involved in public service, and how this public service led them to serve in the Texas legislature.
The formal qualifications for serving in the state Legislature are few. For both houses of the Legislature Article III of the Texas Constitution specifies age, voting status and residency requirements.
Members of the House of Representatives must be at least 21 years of age, registered voters, legal residents of the state for at least two years, and residents of the districts from which they are elected for at least one year. Members of the Senate - the upper house - have slightly more demanding qualifications to fulfill: they must be at least 26 years old, registered voters for at least five years, and residents of the their district for at least one year.