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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 Statutory Code

If you are starting with a statutory citation to Vernon's, you need to find the session law chapter number that led to the statutory language you are researching. A statute is usually of the product of multiple sessions laws so look at the legislative history annotations that immediately follow the statutory text. These annotations provide citations to the legislation that enacted and/or amended the statute. 

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

Caution for online research: 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 print Vernon's.

If the statutory section in question has been amended more than once and legislative history is unclear, you can begin by looking up the session law of the latest amendment and work backwards through each previous amendment listed in the legislative history note. Once you have located the Act in which the statutory language in question appeared, proceed to the next section, Starting with the Session Law Chapter Number.

Search Example

Once you have located your statutory section—in this case, section 325.003 of the Government Code—look at the end of the section at the (unlabeled) credits and/or Historical and Statutory Notes. (Highlighted below, by red boxes.) The information in these sections give you a citation to the session laws, where you can find the original text of the bill that created this law.

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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, Starting with the Session Law Chapter Number.

Texas Statutes Online Example

If researching online, go to the legislature's Texas Constitution and Statutes page. 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 325.003 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 325.003, 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 need to look at the older session laws, you can use these citations to locate the session laws in the General and Special Laws of the State of Texas. In this case, proceed to the next section, Starting with the Session Law Chapter 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. This will allow you to skip ahead to Step 2: Bill File

Image showing hyperlink at end of statutory section