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About this application

The Legislative Reference Library is the legal custodian of the legislative bill files from the 63rd Legislature (1973) to the present. The LRL also houses a variety of other materials related to legislation and the legislative process.

This application is intended to provide easy access to online LRL resources linked to a particular bill number. It also points to selected resources on other sites and offline resources which might be useful to a researcher. It is not a comprehensive source for all information related to a particular bill.

This site is a work in progress; information is not available for all bills or for all sessions. Please contact the Library at 512-463-1252 if you have any questions.

Legislative Archive System

The Legislative Archive System provides electronic access to bill files from the collections of the Legislative Reference Library and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The files are scanned and made available as PDF documents.

The bill file scanning and annotation process is ongoing. Bill files are viewable as soon as they are scanned, although information such as bill caption, authors, subjects, and actions may not be available. Currently, scanned bill files are available for the 46th through 78th Legislatures. Annotations have been entered for the 62nd through 82nd Legislatures.

Direct Search Options

Searching by bill number

Since 1870, the Texas Legislature has routinely assigned an alphanumeric designation to proposed legislation.

Each bill or resolution is assigned a prefix, indicating the chamber where it was introduced and the type of legislation, and a number. Proposed legislation is numbered sequentially within each type of legislation. A new bill numbering sequence begins each session; legislation does not carry over from one session to the next.

PrefixMeaningUsed for
HB
SB
House Bill
Senate Bill
Bills are used to make or amend laws. To take effect, bills must be passed by both chambers of the legislature and approved by the Governor.
HJR
SJR
House Joint Resolution
Senate Joint Resolution
Joint resolutions are used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, to ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution or to request a convention to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Joint resolutions must be approved by both chambers, but do not require approval by the Governor.
HCR
SCR
House Concurrent Resolution
Senate Concurrent Resolution
Concurrent resolutions may be used to request action from other entities, including Congress, or for memorials, congratulations, or commendations. They may also be used for administrative matters. Concurrent resolutions must be approved by both chambers, and may require approval by the Governor.
HR
SR
House Resolution
Senate Resolution
Simple resolutions are only considered by their chamber of origin. They do not require approval by the Governor.
HMM
HCM
House Memorial Motions
House Congratulatory Motion
House Citation Motion
Used in the House during the 64th and 73rd legislatures to memorialize individuals or to offer congratulations or recognition. Only two copies were created for each motion, one for the author and one for presentation to the person being recognized or to the family of the person being memorialized. During the 73rd Legislature, records for these motions were entered into the Legislative Information System, but no copies of the text were entered, and they are not included in the offical bill files in the collection of the Legislative Reference Library.

Searching by session law chapter

The General and Special Laws of Texas, often referred to as the "session laws," constitute a complete set of all bills passed into law by each session of the Texas Legislature.

As bills are passed into law during a legislative session, the Secretary of State assigns each Act a corresponding chapter number. Following each legislative session, the Acts are arranged in chapter-number order and are published as a bound set by the office of the Secretary of State.

Concurrent resolutions and joint resolutions are included at the end of the printed session laws. They are not assigned chapter numbers.

The Legislative Reference Library has compiled complete chapter number information for all sessions from the 19th Legislature forward. Partial information is available for earlier sessions.

Advanced Search Options

The Advanced Search allows you to search across legislative sessions for bills meeting a range of search criteria. The system is a work in progress, so some options are not available for all sessions. Visit the Legislative Archive System status page for details.

Legislature

Currently, the Texas Legislature meets in regular session beginning at noon on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year and continues for 140 days. Historically, both the timing and the length of regular session has varied. The Governor may also call a special session for any reason; a special Session may last no longer than 30 days.

To search a legislative session click on the session designation in the drop down list. To select multiple, non-sequential dropdown menu options, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the mouse on your options. To select a range of sequential options, hold down the Shift key and click a top and bottom choice.

Bill information

Chamber
Use the chamber option to search for legislation originating in the House of Representatives or the Senate or in both chambers.
Bill Type
Select one or more bill types from the drop down menu.
Bill Number
Proposed legislation is numbered sequentially within each type of legislation. A new bill numbering sequence begins each session; legislation does not carry over from one session to the next. Enter a number or a range of numbers seperated by a dash.

Bill Status

Select one of more of the five major stages of the legislative process to see legislation which has reached or passed a particular stage.

Introduced
The initial filing of a bill or resolution in the house or the senate.
House Committee
The stage in which the legislation has been passed out of a House committee.
Senate Committee
The stage in which the legislation has been passed out of a Senate committee.
Engrossed
The stage in the legislative progress when a bill or resolution has been passed by its chamber of origin. Bills, joint resolutions and concurrent resolutions are then forwarded to the opposite chamber for consideration.
Enrolled
The stage in the legislative progress when legislation has been passed by both chambers. If any amendments have been added to the bill by the seond chamber, the originating chamber must accept the changes or both chambers must adopt a conference committee report resolving the differences before the bill may be enrolle.

Final Status Only

If this box is checked, the search will only find legislation where the selected status is the latest stage the bill reached. For example, if you select Introduced and check the Final Status Only box, the search will only return legislation that did not get any further that the introduced stage.

Caption Keyword

Search for words or phrases in the bill caption. Seperate words or phrases with commas. For example, enter "fishing license" to see all bills with the phrase "fishing license" in the captions. Enter "fishing, license" to see bills with the word fishing or the word license in the caption.

Additional Options

Click on these links to narrow your search by author, subject, committee or action.

Bill files

The bill file is the collection of official documents produced during the bill's movement through the legislative process. The contents of bill files vary. Bill files may contain:
  • Introduced version
  • House committee report with vote sheet and bill analysis
  • Engrossed version
  • Senate committee report with vote sheet
  • Senate amendments printing
  • Conference committee report with side-by-side analysis
  • Enrolled version
  • Fiscal notes
  • Senate Research Center bill analyses

Bill analyses

Bill analyses explain in nonlegal language the effect of the bill or resolution and may include background information, a statement of purpose, and a detailed analysis of its content.

There are several types of bill analyses produced during the legislative process. Each one is produced at a certain point in time by a specific legislative entity.

House Research Organization (HRO) Bill Analyses

In the 64th Legislature (1975), the HRO (formerly known as the House Study Group) began preparing the Daily Floor Report, a document containing bill analyses or digests of selected bills. While they are not part of the bill file, HRO analyses may provide useful legislative commentary. Components of an HRO bill analysis include the Subject, Committee, Votes, Witnesses, Background, Digest, what Supporters Say, what Opponents Say, and Notes regarding legislative history or similar bills considered in the same or previous sessions. For more details on the background, development, and components of HRO bill analyses, see the HRO Daily Floor Report, March 5, 1997, 75th Legislature, Number 29.

HRO analyses are only prepared on selected bills at the time of their second reading in the House and do not reflect changes made to the bill later in the legislative process.

Office of House Bill Analysis

During the 76th (1999) and 77th (2001) Legislatures, responsibility for House bill analyses was taken over by the Office of House Bill Analysis. In the 78th Legislature, this office was abolished and bill analysis responsibilities were returned to the House committees.

The Office of House Bill Analysis prepared analyses on house introduced versions, house committee printings, senate engrossed versions, and house enrolled versions. The four primary components of these analyses were: Background and Purpose, Rulemaking Authority, Analysis, and Effective Date. An additional section was added when bills were reported from committee with amendments or a substitute.

Analyses for bills that were voted out of committee are included in the bill files located in the LRL as well as through the Texas Legislature Online. Analyses for bills that were not voted out of committee are available only in electronic format through the Texas Legislature Online.

Senate Research Center (SRC) Bill Analyses

Prior to the 70th Regular Session bill analyses were the responsibility of committee staff. Beginning with the 70th session the Senate Office of Bill Analysis (SBA; now known as the Senate Research Center) was created. At this point committees used SBA voluntarily; approximately one-half of the committees did not use SBA. During the 71st Session, the Education Committee and Health and Human Resources Committee were among several committees that continued to produce their own bill analyses.

In the 73rd Legislature (1993), the SRC began preparing a bill analysis on every version of every Senate bill, as well as the engrossed version of House bills, and on every enrolled bill. SRC analyses include five main sections: Digest, Purpose, Rulemaking Authority, Section-by-Section, and Summary of Committee Changes. More information is available at the Senate Research Center web site.

Additional analyses may be found in the bill files. For example, House committee staff produced analyses for the House committee versions of bills, not the final enrolled versions, from the 63rd through 75th legislative sessions, and these analyses are found only in the bill files.

Bill analyses by session


View a chart showing all HRO, SRC and HBA bill analyses for a session.

Bill History

The bill history is a list of all legislative actions on a bill and the dates on which each action took place. It is also sometimes called the Actions.

Bill history books have been produced since the 63rd Regular Session, 1973. For earlier sessions, consult the House and Senate Journals.

Below is a sample bill history. The H's and S's to the left of the action indicate whether the action occurred in the House or the Senate. The page numbers at the far right show pages in the House and Senate Journals that include bill entries; these page numbers do not always accurately reflect the pages numbers in the published Journals.

For dates of legislative discussion, necessary for obtaining audio tapes, note the actions of "considered in public hearing" and the committee name, "read 2nd time," and "read 3rd time," and the dates each occurred.

H Referred to Insurance [Committee name] 1100
H Considered in Public Hearing 3/14/97   [Date, may be more than one]  
H Read 2nd time 3/25/97 1105
H Read 3rd time 3/25/97 1110
S Referred to Business and Commerce 300
S Considered in Public Hearing 4/15/97    
S Read 2nd time 4/20/97 305
S Read 3rd time 4/21/97 320

Browse scanned bill histories from the 63rd Regular Session, 1973 to the from the 71st 6th Called Session. Bill histories are scanned in groups of 100 bills.

Early Legislatures

Bill numbers were not assigned during the 1st through 11th Legislatures.

Session laws from these Legislatures can be found in H.P.N. Gammel's The Laws of Texas, available online though the University of North Texas Libraries' Portal to Texas History.

The Legislative Reference Library is scanning the House and Senate Journals for these sessions. The LRL's Texas Legislative Sessions and Years page has links to the available Journals.