Legal Resources and Research

Texas Legislative History

Texas Legislative History: Steps in Passing a Bill

1. Bill Introduced: Bill introduced House of Representatives or Senate
Documents: Introduced version of Bill; Bill Analysis

2. Remarks: If sponsor of bill makes remarks, these are recorded in House or Senate Journal
Documents: House Journal or Senate Journal

3.  Bill assigned to Congressional Committee: Hearings held to collect information.
Document: Hearings are taped 1973-present; no written transcripts.
Source: Senate Video Archives / House Video Archives

4.  Committee consideration of reports and analysis and votes on bill.  Committee may amend or substitute bill with another bill.
Documents: Committee reports, Amendments, Bill Analysis, Witness List

5.  If bill recommended, Committee sends back to full House/Senate for debate and vote.  Bill may be amended on the floor.
Documents: Floor Debate, Bill Analysis, Amendments

6.  House/Senate votes on bill.  Votes recorded in the House/Senate Journal.  Bill sent to other chamber. 
Documents: Votes recorded in the House/Senate Journal.  Engrossed bill (official copy of bill as passed by one chamber)

7.  If other legislative chamber passes identical bill, it  is sent to Texas governor to be signed into law.
Documents: Enrolled bill 

8.  If other legislative chamber passes bill but with changes to text, members from both chambers form a conference committee to reconcile differences between two versions.  Conference Committee produces a unified version of bill and a report explaining committee's actions.  Unified version of bill is sent to Governor for signature.
Documents: Conference Report; Unified bill

9.  If Texas Governor signs bill, the bill becomes law.
Documents: Session Laws published in the General and Special Laws of Texas.
Source: General and Special Laws of Texas (Session Law)

10. If Texas Governor vetoes the bill, it is returned to the legislature where it must receive 2/3 majority vote of both house to override the veto.  If Governor refuses to sign, it becomes law in 10 days. 
Documents: Session Laws published in the General and Special Laws of Texas.
Source: General and Special Laws of Texas (Session Law)

11. After bill becomes law, law is incorporated into Texas Codes and Revised Civil Statutes.
Document: Texas Codes and Revised Civil Statutes 
Source: Vernon's Texas Codes and Revised Civil Statutes Annotated.  Commonly known as "Vernon's."  See "Texas Statutes & Codes" tab.

.... For more information see How to Follow a Bill Using TLO (Texas Legislature Online)

Databases of Texas Bills

How to Find a Bill by Topic in Texas Legislature Online (TLO)

By Keyword:

 > Go to: Texas Legislature Online
 > Search a Word or Phrase to find bill.
 > Choose Legislative Session.
 > For history and documents, use Bill Number search.

By Broad Subject:

 > Go to: Texas Legislature Online: Bills by Reports
 > Choose Legislative Session.
 > Choose a category in "Bills by Subject"
 > Note: not all categories will have bills. 

By Bill Number:

 > Choose relevant legislative session
 > Type in bill number 
 >   Example: HB 14 (House Bill 14)
 >   Example: SB 14 (Senate Bill 14)

Record will contain the text of the bill, history of the bill, sponsors, stages of the bill

HB         House Bill
SB         Senate Bill
HCR       House Concurrent Resolution
SCR       Senate Concurrent Resolution
HJR        House Joint Resolution
SJR        Senate Joint Resolution
CSHB     Committee Substitute House Bill
CSSB     Committee Substitute Senate Bill
HMM      House Memorial Motions
HCM       House Congratulatory Motion

Publications on the Texas Legislative Process

Creating Texas Legislative Histories

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