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Texas Legislative History Research

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

Finding a Texas Statute Citation by Subject

To find a Texas Statutes citation by subject, you will need to look up the subject of the law that you are researching. You can research either in print and/or online. Researching online may save you a step.

Print: Start with the General Index to Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated (KFT 1230.5 V4 Z21). The General Index is located at the very end of the Vernon's set and is arranged alphabetically into multiple volumes. Once you locate the subject that you are researching, you will find a citation to the statutes and/or codes. (Vernon's in print does not include bill numbers.) Once you have this citation, proceed to the next section, Starting With a Citation to Vernon's.

Online: You can search the text of Texas statutes on the legislature's Texas Constitution and Statutes page. Click on the "Search" tab at the top of the page to perform a text search. Once you locate the correct statutory provision, you may find the bill or resolution number within the citations beneath the statutory text. If so, proceed to Step 2: Bill File. If uncertain of which bill introduced the language you are researching or the citation is lacking, proceed to the next section, Starting With a Citation to Vernon's.

Search Example: Using the General Index

Below is an image from the General Index to Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. As you can see in the enlarged text below, once you locate the subject that you are researching, you will find a citation to the statutes and/or codes. In this case, the law on the Sunset Advisory Commission is located in section 325.003 of the Government Code.

Sample image from the General Index to Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated

Once you have this citation, proceed to the next section, Starting With a Citation to Vernon's.

Search Example: Searching Online

You can search the text of Texas statutes on the legislature's Texas Constitution and Statutes page. Click on the "Search" tab at the top of the page to perform a text search. Since you are searching for a multi-word phrase—Sunset Advisory Commission—in this search example, you will want to use quotes around the phrase when searching.

Sample phrase search from the Texas Legislature Online website

As you can see, several options for your search phrase are returned in the results. You will want to check all of the options to find the statute that you are looking for. In this case, the Sunset Advisory Commission statute that you are searching for is located in the Sunset Law, which is the sixth result.

 

Sample image of search results from Texas Legislature Online search

The Sunset Law, Chapter 325 of the Government Code, will open in a new window. Scroll down until you locate Section 325.003, which is the section on the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Sample image of text of Texas Government Code

Now that you have located the correct statutory provision, you may find the bill or resolution number at the end of the statutory section or you may be able to click through to the original session law to find it there. 

Sample image of the end part of the statutory section, which provides the bill or resolution number

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. With these bill and session numbers in hand, proceed to Step 2: Bill File

Image showing hyperlink at end of statutory section

If uncertain of which bill introduced the language you are researching or the citation is lacking, you need to look at the text of the session laws to pin down which one added the language to Vernon's that you are researching. If that is the case, proceed to Starting With the Session Law Chapter Number.