Texas State Legislature
What is a bill?
A bill is a proposed piece of legislation, which is under consideration by the state legislature.
How are Bills are Passed in Texas?
- A bill is written.
- An appropriate person, someone that will represent the bill’s interests, introduces the bill to the House of Representatives.
- The Texas Speaker of the House refers the bill to the appropriate House of Representatives committee for review, and the bill may be shown to interest groups that may benefit from the passing of the bill (this creates public support for the bill, which may influence its passing).
- The committee approves the bill by a majority vote (the bill must be approved by a majority vote order to proceed to the next step).
- The calendar committee places the bill on the calendar to determine when the bill will reach the general House of Representatives floor for debate and voting.
- The bill reaches the floor for debate and voting, but the bill is usually amended to make it more likely to be passed (a majority vote by the House and Senate is necessary for the bill to be passed).
- The House and Senate each vote on the amended bill and pass it; however, each chamber votes on different amended bills.
- A conference committee is formed from five members of the House and the Senate; each member is chosen by the Texas Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor to discuss the bill and compromise to form an amended version of the bill for a new vote. Once again, a majority vote by the conference committee is needed for the bill to pass.
- The bill is returned to the floor of both chambers for a new vote. No amendments are allowed on the bill for this vote; the bill must be voted on as is.
- If a majority vote is reached by both chambers, the bill is signed by the Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor.
- The bill is then presented to the Governor, who can sign the bill to pass it or veto it. However, if the Governor vetoes the bill, it can still become a law if two-thirds of the members of each chamber (House and Senate) vote to override the Governor’s veto.
Bills in Texas
What are Statutes?
A written law passed by a legislature that governs a city, state or local county typically by prohibiting something or declaring a policy. ex. Violation of the hate crimes statute.
Statutes are enacted as they go through the process of becoming a bill to law. Once a bill survives the legislative process and is passed by both chambers, the Governor signs the bill to enact it. The bill then becomes a law; the various provisions of the bill are now called statutes, which indicates the bills new status as a law. Usually state statutes such as those enacted by Texas are compiled as statutory codes. To date, there are 27.
- Texas Legislative Calendar
- Texas Legislative Committee
- Upcoming House Committee Meetings
- Upcoming Senate Committee Meetings
- Conference Committee Membership by Bill
- Committee Assignments by Member, House
- Committee Assignments by Member, Senate
- Texas Legislative Journal
- Texas House of Representatives Proceedings: Audio/Visual recordings of the Texas HOR proceedings
- Senate Media Live Broadcasts of Proceedings: Includes archives from 1999 to 2012
- How a Bill Becomes a Law
- The Process of a Bill: How a bill originates and eventually becomes a law.
- How to Follow a Bill Online Until it is Enacted: The process of following a bill until it passed using the Texas legislatures online tools.
- Texas Constitution
- Texas Constitution: From the Tarlton Law Library
- Texas Election Information: Information on where to find polling places, sample ballots, and candidate lists.
Additional Legislative Information For Texas
- Texas Administrative Code: A compilation of all state agency rules in Texas.
- Texas Legislative Council: Provides research, bill drafting, bill drafting, computing, publishing and document distribution for members of the Texas Legislature.
- Texas Division of Post Audit: The top ten audit findings in post-audit reports.
- The Texas Ethics Commission: Promotes confidence in Texas government.
- Reviser of Statutes: The Texas government requires that the Texas Legislative Council make revisions to the statutes before they are assigned on of 27 codes.
- Official State of Texas Website
The seats of the Texas House of Representatives.
(Image provided courtesy of the Texas House of Representatives.)