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?

  1. A bill is written.
  2. An appropriate person, someone that will represent the bill’s interests, introduces the bill to the House of Representatives.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. The House and Senate each vote on the amended bill and pass it; however, each chamber votes on different amended bills.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. If a majority vote is reached by both chambers, the bill is signed by the Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor.
  11. 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.

Congressional Links

Educational Links

Additional Legislative Information For Texas

The seats of the Texas House of Representatives.

(Image provided courtesy of the Texas House of Representatives.)