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Guide to Researching Legislative History and Intent

The staff of the Legislative Reference Library can guide you through the process of looking for legislative intent and assist you in obtaining useful materials. Our goal is to provide our clients with a helpful starting point. Our research is not intended to be exhaustive, however, and our assistance does not constitute legal advice.

Before you begin > Legislative history vs. legislative intent > Typical materials > Starting with what you know > Other helpful resources


Before you begin

Legislative histories are not automatically compiled and therefore the Legislative Reference Library does not have ready-made legislative histories in its collection. They must be compiled by the individual researcher from many materials. You may compile the information yourself or you may choose to hire a professional service to do this work. Information on both methods follows.

Compile a legislative history yourself

The basic steps in researching legislative intent are presented in our brochure, Compiling Texas Legislative History. Reviewing The Legislative Process in Texas or the Guide to Texas Legislative Information by the Texas Legislative Council may assist in understanding the contents of a bill file. The following pages highlight particular aspects and segments of the materials and process.

To hire a professional service to compile a legislative history

An average legislative history requires several hours to research and prepare. While the Legislative Reference Library is unable to provide this service for the public, private firms specializing in this type of research can gather the pertinent materials for you, transcribe and analyze their content, and summarize the evidence in a detailed report. Researchers who wish to acquire a comprehensive legislative history, rather than compiling and writing their own, should contact a legislative intent research firm. See a list of Legislative Intent research firms.

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