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Texas Legislative History Research

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


When tracking Texas legislation, there are certain dates and deadlines to note as they serve as reminders of when to be on alert for news:

  • Interim (between sessions): 3 general phases
    • Interim charges:
      • Speaker and Lt. Governor typically issue interim charges in which legislative committees are asked to study various issues in preparation for the next regular session. Ex: House (March 2022); Senate (April 2022)
      • Committees typically charged to conduct oversight of rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation from prior session and may list specific bill numbers.
    • Committee meetings/hearings: LRL's Today's Committee Meetings provides calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas and related resources.
    • Committee reports: on the interim charges; usually published prior to the start of the next legislative session.
  • November start of bill prefiling: prefiling legislation begins the first Monday after a November election in even-numbered years, which is when news coverage starts in earnest for an upcoming legislative session.
    • The Lieutenant Governor and Speaker have the ability to reserve the first 20-30 bills for their priority bills. Timing of filing these can happen well after session has begun.
  • January start of session: the legislature convenes its regular sessions at noon on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years.
    • During the first day of a session, both chambers discuss their upcoming session rules and newly elected members are sworn-in.
    • Governor's State of the State speech: given at the beginning of a legislative session, per Tex. Const, art. IV, § 9, and may include “emergency items” that can be considered earlier in a legislative session than other proposals. Tex. Const. art. III, § 5(b)
  • February start to committee meetings: Speaker of the House and Lt. Governor form committees; there limitations on committee meetings during the first thirty days.
    • Tex. Const. art. III, § 5(b) ([After the first thirty days] “During the succeeding thirty days of the regular session of the Legislature the various committees of each House shall hold hearings to consider . . . such emergency matters as may be submitted by the Governor.”). 
    • Committees may decide to establish a regular hearing date and time (ex: Mondays, 8am), but this can change on short notice.
  • March 60 day bill filing deadline: unrestricted introduction of bills ends after the first 60 calendar days of each regular session.
  • May deadlines, which can vary by session:
    • Last day for House committees to report HBs/HJRs and still have a chance to be placed on House calendar
      • House bill not voted out of committee could still find its way on to another bill by way of amendment or advance via Senate companion bill (if any).
    • Last day for House committees to report SBs/SJRs 
  • Memorial Day: the maximum duration of a regular session is 140 days, meaning it usually ends around Memorial Day weekend.
  • Governor's actions on legislation: if a bill is sent to the Governor within 10 days of final adjournment, the Governor has until 20 days after final adjournment to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature. (Before session ends, the Governor typically has 10 days to sign or the bill becomes law automatically.)
  • Effective date: when a new law becomes effective varies, but it is usually the beginning of the fiscal year (Sept. 1). Legislation may be drafted to include a specific alternative date; common alternatives are bills that become effective immediately or at the beginning of a calendar year (Jan. 1).

More information on deadlines and calendars is available from the Legislative Reference Library of Texas.

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