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Texas Legislative History Research

A guide to walk you through the process of compiling legislative history of Texas legislation

Finding the Session Law Citation from the Texas Statutes

Once you have located the statutory section in Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated (or the article in Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes Annotated), you will want to look at the legislative history annotations that immediately follow the statutory text.  These annotations can be called by several names:  Historical Notes, Historical and Statutory Notes, Derivation, or Prior Laws.  Regardless of the name, these annotations will provide you with citations to the legislation that enacted and/or amended the statute. 

Caution:  Be sure to check both the main printed volume and the pocket part to compile a complete list of session law citations for your statute.

It is important to note that a complete record of the Prior Laws and Derivation portion of the legislative history annotations are not available on the Texas Legislature Online's Texas Statutes website.  You will only be able to find the full statutory history in the printed version of the statutes, Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated or Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes Annotated.

Notes:

  • In order to determine which bill added the statutory language that you are researching, you may have to consult several different Acts in the session laws.  
  • If the statutory section in question has been amended more than once, you should begin by looking at the latest amendment and work backwards through each previous amendment listed in the legislative history note.  Once you have found the Act in which the statutory language in question first appeared, you will be able to stop looking at the amendments.

Once you have located the Act in which the statutory language in question appeared, proceed to the next section, Finding the Bill Number from the Session Law Chapter.

Search Example

Once you have located your statutory section - in this case, section 325.025 of the Government Code - you will need to look at the end of the section at the Historical and Statutory Notes.  You can see the Historical and Statutory Notes in the example below, highlighted by a red box.  The information in this section will give you a citation to the Session Laws, where you can find the original text of the bill that created this law.

Image of Section 325.025 of the Texas Government Code

You must also be sure to check the pocket part located in the back of the volume for updated history.  In this case, there was additional legislative action taken after the bound volume was printed, which is referenced in the pocket part. 

Image of Pocket Part covering Section 325.025 of Texas Government Code

Once you have the citations that you need, proceed to the next section, Finding the Bill Number from the Session Law Chapter.

Texas Statutes Online Example

If you have used the print General Index to Vernon's Statutes and Codes Annotated to find the citation to the statutory section on the Sunset Advisory Commission but want to look at the statute online instead of in the print Vernon's volume, you can do so on the Texas Legislature Online website. You will be able to navigate directly to the section using the drop-down menus, as illustrated below.

Image of Texas Online Statutes Provided by Texas Legislature Online, Navigation example

Once you click "Go," the statute, section 325.025 of the Government Code, will open up in a new window.

Example Image showing online version of Section 325.025 of Texas Government Code

Next, scroll to the bottom of section 325.025, where you will find citations to the session laws that have enacted and amended this statute.

Example image showing bottom section of Section 325.025 of Texas Government Code

If you want to look at the older session laws, you can use these citations to look up the session laws in the print volumes, General and Special Laws of Texas. In this case, proceed to the next section, Finding the Bill Number from the Session Law Chapter.

If you only want to look at the most recent amendment, you can click on the hyperlink in this section, which will open up the underlying legislative bill that created the law, in this case, 80(R) H.B. 3249.  This will allow you to skip ahead to Step 2: Bill File
 

Image showing hyperlink at end of statutory section