LRL Home - Points of Interest - Legislation

New Laws Effective January 1, 2014

On January 1, 2014 provisions of 73 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature took effect.
Additionally, sections of bills passed during the 82nd R.S. and 82nd 1st C.S. in 2011 and the 81st R.S. in 2009 took effect on January 1.
To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

Upcoming Constitutional Amendments Election - Nov. 5

On November 5, 2013, voters will have a chance to consider nine constitutional amendments proposed by the 83rd Legislature. The proposed amendments cover a wide range of topics, including taxes, reverse mortgages, and the creation of a State Water Implementation Fund.
For background and analysis of the ballot propositions, see the House Research Organization's Constitutional Amendments Proposed for Nov. 2013 Ballot, and the Texas Legislative Council's Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments.
Do you have questions about election procedures? Visit the Texas Secretary of State's website for answers.
The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation and it's still growing. The Constitution is changed through amendments, which are proposed by the Texas Legislature and accepted or rejected by the voters.
Since the current Constitution was adopted in 1876, 474 amendments have been accepted and 179 have been defeated.
Amendments Proposed for the November 5, 2013 ballot by the 83rd Legislature, Regular Session
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action.
The constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.
The constitutional amendment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax exemption.
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.
The constitutional amendment to authorize the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of homestead property and to amend lender disclosures and other requirements in connection with a reverse mortgage loan.
The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.
The constitutional amendment authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedure to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.
The constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.
The constitutional amendment relating to expanding the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Legal Citations to Legislation

The Greenbook: Texas Rules of Form After a legislative session, the library is often asked about legal citations to legislation. The following style formats are from The Greenbook: Texas Rules of Form, 12th edition, by the Texas Law Review. Please note that a different citation method is available in the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual.


Session Laws (rule 10.3):
Citations to session laws may be used if the statute has not yet appeared in the Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes Annotated or Vernon’s Texas Codes Annotated, or when citing for the historical fact of enactment. There are five elements of a session law citation:
  1. Name of the statute: use the official short title or popular name, if available. Otherwise use “Act of [date of enactment].” The Greenbook specifies that “The date of enactment is the date of the final relevant legislative action on the bill, not the date of executive approval.”
  2. Legislature and session of enactment: use 83d for 83rd Legislature, use R.S. for Regular Session, use C.S. for Called Sessions and number as: 1st C.S., 2d C.S., 3d C.S.
  3. Chapter and section number of the session law: use lower case, i.e., "ch.” A session law may have many section numbers, which may be cited individually with a "§" symbol, or "§§" for more than one section.
  4. General and Special Laws of the State of Texas year and page number (or the Vernon’s Texas Session Law Service pamphlets prior to the publication of bound volumes).
  5. Future location in the code.
Higher Education Outcomes-Based Funding Act, 82d Leg., R.S., ch. 1120, 2011 Tex. Gen. Laws 2882.
Act of May 26, 2013, 83d Leg., R.S., ch. 211, § 9, 2013 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 903 (West) (to be codified at Tex. Educ. Code § 28.00222).
Act of May 27, 2011, 82d Leg., R.S., ch. 1087, §§ 1, 5, 2011 Tex. Gen. Laws 2822, 2823-24.
Unenacted Bills (rule 14.1.1):
Tex. S.B. 315, 83d Leg., R.S. (2013).
Tex. H.B. 8, 83d Leg., 2d C.S. (2013).
Concurrent and Joint Resolutions (rule 14.1.2):
Tex. S. Con. Res. 12, 83d Leg., R.S. (2013).
Tex. H.R. Con. Res. 33, 83d Leg., R.S. (2013).
Tex. H.R.J. Res. 133, 83d Leg., R.S. (2013).
Tex. S.J. Res. 1, 83d Leg., R.S. (2013).
When documenting legislative history, include citation to the General and Special Laws of the State of Texas:
         Tex. S.J. Res. 14, 68th R.S., 1983 Tex. Gen. Laws 6683 (Veterans' Land Program and Veterans' Housing Assistance Program).

Wrap-ups of the 83rd Legislature

Following each legislative session in Texas, organizations, state agencies, and other entities publish "wrap-ups" summarizing new laws and key legislative developments in areas such as education or the environment. Wrap-ups can range from a simple list of bills to a detailed report that includes background information and expert analysis.
At the library, we track legislative wrap-ups since they can be excellent research tools. Listed below is a short selection. More are available, and some are still being written. To find one on a topic that interests you, check the websites of organizations or state agencies that focus on the issue, or contact the library for assistance.
State Agencies:
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas Education Agency
Texas Veterans Commission
Associations and Organizations:
Association of Rural Communities in Texas
League of Women Voters of Texas
Texas AgriLife  Extension Service – Texas Agriculture Law Blog
Texas Association of Community Colleges
Texas Association of Counties
Texans Care for Children
Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA)
Texas Humane Legislation Network
Texas Medical Association (TMA)
Texas Municipal League (TML)
Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association
TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas

New Laws Effective September 1, 2013

On September 1, 2013 provisions of 698 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature will take effect.
Additionally, sections of bills passed during the 82nd R.S. and 82nd 1st C.S. in 2011 will take effect on September 1.
To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

New State Symbols

Endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
The Kemp's ridley sea turtle, the official sea turtle
of Texas. Photo by USFWS Endangered Species.

During the 83rd Regular Session, lawmakers added four new official state symbols to the more than 60 state symbols that represent the Lone Star State. Pecan pie and peach cobbler became our official state pie and state cobbler, respectively, and pumpkin was designated the official state squash. The endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is now the official state sea turtle.

See the entire collection of state symbols on our Pinterest page, "State Symbols of Texas." For each symbol we included an image, as well as a link to the resolution that designated it. You can also visit the library and see an exhibit all about the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

Did You Know? Male Kemp’s ridley sea turtles spend their entire lives at sea; the females come ashore only to lay eggs, and they do so in large, synchronized groups, an extraordinary phenomenon known in Spanish as arribada, meaning "arrival."

83rd Regular Session Wrap-Up

House and Senate Bills
Filed 5,868
Sent to the Governor 1,437
Signed by the Governor 1,395
Signed by the Governor/line item veto 2
Vetoed by the Governor 26
Filed without the Governor's signature 14
Sent to the Comptroller 5
Joint Resolutions
Filed 193
Filed with the Secretary of State 10
Concurrent Resolutions
Filed 256
Sent to the Governor 176
Signed by the Governor 176

Bill statistics:
Midnight, June 16 was the last day the governor could sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature bills passed during the 83rd Regular Session. When the deadline had passed, the governor had vetoed 26 bills (not including the line-item vetoes on SB 1, the General Appropriations Act, and HB 1025, a supplemental appropriations bill), signed 1,573 bills and concurrent resolutions and filed 14 bills without his signature. Joint resolutions that passed both chambers of the Legislature were filed with the Secretary of State, and will be on the ballot for the November 5, 2013, general election.

Vetoed bills:
Texas Constitution, Article IV, Section 14 states that if the governor vetoes a bill after the session has adjourned, he or she is required to give notice in the form of a proclamation. The library has compiled veto proclamations issued by Governor Perry for the 83rd Regular Session and made them available here.

Effective dates:
The library reviews the text of all bills that become law to determine their effective dates, and enters the information into the Texas Legislature Online. To find the effective date of a bill, check the "Last action" field on the bill's main page. In some cases, different sections of a bill may have different effective dates, in which case additional remarks will be given to provide the information.

In addition to updating the Texas Legislature Online with effective date information, the library compiles a list of bills and their effective dates following each regular and called session. The list is made available on the library's website once it is complete.

Signed copies of bills:
Bills that the Governor signed or allowed to become law without his signature are sent to the Secretary of State’s office, where they are made available online on the Bills and Resolutions page.

You can determine whether a bill sent to the Governor was signed or filed without signature by checking the bill in the Texas Legislature Online. If the bill passed but was filed without signature, you will see the action "Filed without the Governor's signature."

Session law chapter numbers:
The Secretary of State’s Bills and Resolutions page also lists the session law chapter number that is assigned to each bill that has become law. The session laws contain the text of all bills passed into law during a particular legislative session. Chapter numbers are used primarily for citing a bill in a legislative history annotation.


Bills Signed, Vetoed, Or Filed Without Signature, June 10

Below are bill statistics as of 10:00 a.m. on June 10. Sunday, June 16 is the deadline for the Governor to sign or veto bills. For additional information on what happens to legislation filed during the 83rd Regular Session, please see our FAQ page.

What's Next? Post-Regular Session FAQs

After 140 days, the regular session of the 83rd Legislature adjourned sine die on May 27, 2013.  What's next for the thousands of pieces of legislation considered during the regular session?

How many bills were filed? How many passed?
The legislative statistics report from Texas Legislature Online shows 5,868 House and Senate bills were filed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature; 1,437 bills passed. 
See our bill statistics page for more historical statistics.
If the Legislature passes a bill, does it become a law right away?
No. Under Article 4, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution, bills passed by the Legislature must be submitted to the Governor for approval. The Governor can sign a bill, veto it, line-item veto an appropriation, or allow a bill to become law without his signature.
How long does the Governor have to approve or veto legislation?
The Governor has twenty days after final adjournment to consider bills received in the final ten days (not counting Sundays) of the session. Sunday, June 16 is the last day the Governor can sign or veto legislation.
If the Governor approves a bill, when will it take effect?
The text of a bill may include effective date provisions requiring the bill to take effect immediately, to take effect on a specified day, or there may be no mention of an effective date. Different sections of a bill may have different effective dates.
According to Article III, Section 39 of the Texas Constitution, a bill cannot become effective until at least 90 days after the session ends unless the bill passes both chambers with a favorable vote by two-thirds of the members. 
Monday, August 26, 2013 is the 91st day following final adjournment; bills that do not specify an effective date and those that did not have the two-thirds vote necessary to take effect earlier will take effect on August 26.
If a bill received the votes necessary to become effective immediately, it will take effect on the date of the last action necessary for it to become law. This could be when the Governor signs it, when the Governor files it with the Secretary of State without approving or vetoing it, or when the time for the Governor to act expires, if the bill has not been approved or vetoed during that time.
Use Texas Legislature Online to track the status of bills.
What happens to bills that did not pass?
Bills that did not make it completely through the legislative process die with the end of the session and are not automatically reintroduced during the next session. 
What about other types of legislation?
Joint resolutions that propose amendments to the Texas Constitution do not require the approval of the Governor, and are filed with the Secretary of State. Proposed constitutional amendments are sent to the voters for approval or disapproval. 
The 83rd Legislature passed 6 joint resolutions proposing constitutional amendments. These proposed amendments will be on the ballot on November 5, 2013. 
Most concurrent resolutions must be sent to the Governor for approval. The Governor must approve a concurrent resolution for it to take effect. 
Simple resolutions are passed by only one chamber of the Legislature, and do not require the Governor's approval.

Bill Statistics, May 26th

As we approach the end of the 83rd Regular Session, the library will be compiling daily bill statistics.

Previous Entries / More Entries