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Bill Statistics & Upcoming Deadlines, May 8

 

As the 85th Legislature draws to a close, a series of end-of-session deadlines begins to take effect. Below is a list of deadlines that occur next week:

  • Wednesday, May 17: 9 a.m. Deadline for house to distribute its last House Local & Consent Calendar with local house bills.
  • Friday, May 19: Last day for house to consider local house bills on second and third reading. First day senate can consider bills and resolutions the first day they are posted on the Senate Intent Calendar.
  • Saturday, May 20: Last day for house committees to report senate bills and senate joint resolutions.
  • Sunday, May 21: 10 p.m. Deadline for house to distribute its last House Daily Calendar with senate bills and senate joint resolutions.

House and Senate calendars are available on the Texas Legislature Online, and Senate agendas are available in hard copy from the library (Rm. 2N.3). 

 

Bill statistics for the period of Nov. 14, 2016 - May 7, 2017 are below.

 

  House Bills (HB) & Joint Resolutions (HJR) Senate Bills (SB) & Joint Resolutions (SJR)
Filed  4,443 2,351
Reported out of committee 1,885 967
Passed by chamber of origin 769 747
Referred to committee in opposite chamber 355 446
Reported out of committee in opposite chamber 42 144
Passed opposite chamber 13 38
Sent to the Governor 1 7
Signed by the Governor 1 3

 

 

 

Bill Statistics & Upcoming Deadlines, May 1

As the 85th Legislature draws to a close, a series of end-of-session deadlines begin to take effect. Below is a list of deadlines that occur next week:

  • Monday, May 8: Last day for house committees to report house bills and house joint resolutions.
  • Tuesday, May 9: Deadline for house to distribute last House Daily Calendar with house bills and joint resolutions.
  • Wednesday, May 10: Deadline for house to distribute last House Local and Consent Calendar with consent house bills.
  • Thursday, May 11: Last day for house to consider house bills and joint resolutions on second reading on House Daily or Supplemental Calendar.
  • Friday, May 12: Last day for house to consider consent house bills on second and third reading and all third reading house bills or joint resolutions on House Supplemental Calendar.

House and Senate calendars are available on the Texas Legislature Online, and Senate agendas are available in hard copy from the library (Rm. 2N.3). 

Bill statistics for the period of Nov. 14, 2016 - April 30, 2017 are below.

  House Bills (HB) & Joint Resolutions (HJR) Senate Bills (SB) & Joint Resolutions (SJR)
Filed  4,441 2,346
Reported out of committee 1,535 824
Passed by chamber of origin 381 581
Referred to committee in opposite chamber 76 132
Reported out of committee in opposite chamber 1 37
Passed opposite chamber 1 7
Signed by the Governor 0 0

 

Understanding Budget Riders

There comes a time in every session when advancing the state budget becomes the primary focus of attention. Since this pivotal season is upon us, we thought it would be an excellent time to broach the subject of budget riders.
 
What is a budget rider?
 
Riders are enumerated policy directives or contingent appropriations that follow traditional line item appropriations in the General Appropriations Act. The term also applies to general provisions in Article IX and special provisions at the end of each article.[i]
 
Riders convey specific instructions on how agency funds can be collected or spent. Riders may also express legislative intent and be used to provide funds for administrative functions.
 

 

 
Where do riders come from?
 
In most cases, riders carry over from one biennium to the next. Riders passed in the previous session are routinely included in introduced versions of House and Senate appropriations bills.
 
The opportunity to alter rider language first occurs in the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees. In addition to making decisions about line item appropriations, House and Senate budget committees consider rider additions and revisions. The work of the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) is essential to this process. Decision documents prepared for the committees are available on the LBB's website. Initial and adopted versions of the documents include items discussed during the decision-making process. Adopted rider documents, which provide the text of new and amended riders as passed by the committees, are particularly helpful to researchers. 
 

 
Riders can also be added, amended, and deleted on the floor and again in conference committee. Relevant documents are available through the Texas Legislature Online and LBB websites.
 
Where can I find the text of a rider?
 
Locating the text of a rider within a General Appropriations Act is simple when you know the article number, agency name, rider number, and year of passage. The task is more complex when available information is inaccurate or incomplete. In any case, the LRL is happy to help with the search. 
 
In addition to copies of General Appropriations Acts going back to the 40th Legislature, introductions to the budget process from the Senate Research Center and House Research Organization are available on the Library's website. Recent GAAs and supporting documents are available through the Legislative Budget Board
 


[i] Senate Research Center. Budget 101: A Guide to the Budget Process in Texas, 2017, p. 72.

Research Minute: Finding Committee Minutes and Testimony

When you're researching a bill, committee minutes and testimony are great resources. To find these records, you'll need to know:

 

  • names of the house and/or senate committees to which the bill was referred, and
  • dates the bill was considered by committee or subcommittee in public hearings.

 

Find this information by searching Texas Legislature Online (TLO) (1989-present) and/or the Legislative Archive System (LAS) (which has committee information from 1973-present). Enter the bill number, making sure to select the correct chamber and session/year. For HB 1558, 84R, the History tab indicates that the bill was assigned to the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence committee and then the Senate State Affairs committee.

 

Next, select the Actions tab and scan the list to find "public hearing." HB 1558, 84R was considered in a house committee public hearing on April 14, 2015, and in a senate committee public hearing on May 14, 2015. You can tell which chamber by the "H" or "S" on the far left.

 
 

 

Now, go back and click on those committee links on the History tab. (This part will only work in TLO.) You'll see a list of the committee members for that session, and on the right, a "Meetings" link. Click here to see a list of all of the meetings the committee conducted in that session. Find the hearing date you determined from the action list to access its hearing notice, minutes, and witness list. Since multiple bills often are considered in a single hearing, do a Control-F for your bill number to find the relevant sections. You can also look on the websites for each of the committees (House, Senate), as they sometimes include meeting handouts and transcripts for the current session.

 

 

You then can use the committee names and hearing dates to search for the relevant recordings in the house and senate video archives (for which links also are available on TLO and on the "Additional sources" tab in a LAS search). There is a chart in our legislative intent guide with more information about which dates are available online or on audio tape. Transcripts are rare, but House Video/Audio Services (512-463-0920) or Senate Staff Services (512-463-0430) may have transcripts or know if one exists (perhaps with the committee records) for a certain committee hearing.

 

Another avenue of committee testimony research is the LRL's committee minutes project, which makes available minutes and related documents for house, senate, and joint committees from the 63rd-74th Legislatures (1973-1995). Some have testimony transcripts--it is always worthwhile to check.

 

For example, a search in the committee minutes database for the Senate Committee on Finance, 72R (1991) yields 92 days' worth of scanned meeting minutes. Most of the documents summarize the proceedings of the meeting and simply make note when testimony was taken, but the March 5, 1991, minutes includes a transcript.

 

The committee minutes database includes interim committees, so even if you don't have a particular bill in mind, searching here can be helpful for many legislative history projects.

 

 

Cover image by Flickr user hyacinth50.

Bill Filing Deadline Statistics, 85th Legislature

Friday marked the bill filing deadline for the 85th Regular Session. When the deadline had passed, a total of 6,654 bills and joint resolutions had been filed. How does this compare to previous sessions?

 

60-Day Bill Filing Deadline FAQ

60-Day Filing Deadline F.A.Q.:

When is the deadline for filing bills?

The deadline for filing bills and joint resolutions, other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and bills that have been declared an emergency by the governor, is the 60th calendar day after the legislature convenes for its regular session.

 

When is the 60-day filing deadline for the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature?

Friday, March 10th, 2017.

 

Where can I find the other deadlines for the 85th regular session?

Other significant dates can be found on the Legislative Council's Dates of Interest page. The Texas Legislative Council also created a calendar showing deadlines for action under the House and Senate Rules for the last month of the regular session. End-of-session deadline calendars and dates of interest for previous sessions are available on our website: Session Deadline Calendars.

 

What happens next?

As indicated in Sec. 5(b), Art. III of the Texas Constitution, for the next 30 days of the regular legislative session, the committees of each chamber hold hearings to consider all bills, resolutions, and other undecided matters.

 

Did you know?:

  • After the 60-day filing deadline during a regular session, any proposed bill or joint resolution requires permission to introduce by an affirmative vote of four-fifths of those members present and voting (see Senate Rule 7.07(b) and House Rule 8, Sec.8) Local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the governor are not subject to these rules.

Bill Statistics at the 45th Day of Session

Thursday, February 23 marked the 45th day of the 85th Regular Session. That means we're 3/4 of the way to the 60-day bill filing deadline, which is Friday, March 10, 2017. For those who are curious, here is a look at bill statistics in comparison to a similar period last session.

 

Bills and Joint Resolutions
84th Regular Session

(Nov. 10, 2014-Feb. 26, 2015)
85th Regular Session

(Nov. 14, 2016-Feb. 23, 2017)
House filed 2,057 2,396
Senate filed 834 1,094
Total filed 2,891 3,490
House referred to committee 837 1,024
Senate referred to committee 721 814
Total referred to committee 1,558 1,838
House scheduled for hearing 25 3
Senate scheduled for hearing 24 32
Total scheduled for hearing 49 35
House reported out of committee 2 2
Senate reported out of committee 5 23
Total reported out of committee 7 25

 

Research Minute: Finding Sunset Bills

Every legislative session, about 20-30 agencies go through the Sunset process—the regular assessment of the continuing need for a state agency or program to exist. The Sunset Advisory Commission submitted its Report to the 85th Legislature on Friday, Feb. 10. Per Sunset procedures, an agency, program, policy, or law will be abolished on its "sunset" date unless the legislature passes a bill to continue it. Such bills often enact revised policies as recommended in the review process.
 

Wondering how you can find these bills? The Sunset Commission recently added a page dedicated to the 85th Legislature where you can see which agencies were reviewed and what bills have been filed. They also are tweeting Sunset bills as they are filed.

 

In addition, you can find Sunset bills on Texas Legislature Online. Select "Search" from the top navigation, and pull down to "Bill Search." From that screen, go to the Subjects section and click on "Select subject criteria." This will pull up the box as seen below. (If your pop-up blocker is enabled, you may have to tell it to allow this exception.) Do a search for "sunset," then select "Sunset--Commission Bills (I0772). Click on the right arrow to move it to your "Selected" subjects, then click OK to return to the main Bill Search screen.

 
From here, you can click on "Search" in the top right corner, and you will get your results. You can refine your results to particular subjects of interest, look back at past years' sunset bills, and more.

 

What to Expect When You're Expecting...Session!

The first day of the Regular Session is filled with activity and ceremony, and follows a schedule similar to first days past. The House and Senate journal entries for previous first days can be found on the library's website, and offer a glimpse into what to expect on January 10, 2017, when the 85th Texas Legislature convenes at noon.

Opening day of the 84th Legislative Session, January 13, 2015. Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman

In the Senate, the first day of session is called to order by the Lieutenant Governor, while in the House the Secretary of State acts as Master of Ceremonies until the Speaker is elected. In both chambers, a roll call of members is taken to establish a quorum, and an invocation is offered. Members-elect will also take the oath of office. For information about members of the Texas Legislature, please visit our Texas Legislators: Past & Present page. 

Senator Troy Fraser, right, with his granddaughter on the opening day of the 84th Regular Session in 2015. Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman

Representative Obie Jones with family during opening day of the 55th Legislature in 1957. Douglass, Neal. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

In the House, an important piece of business on opening day is the election of the Speaker. Because the Speaker is elected before the permanent rules of the House are adopted for the current session, a motion is usually adopted to temporarily use the rules of procedure from the previous session. Current and historical rules of the House and the Senate can be found on the library's website. Procedures for nomination and election of the Speaker are passed via resolution. In many past sessions, nominating speeches were not to exceed 5 minutes and seconding speeches were not to exceed 4 minutes. The nominating and seconding speeches as well as the final vote tally are often recorded in the House Journal, and the library has compiled these documents on its website

 

Learn more about Speakers of the Texas House, 1846 - present.

 

In turn, the Senate elects the President Pro Tempore. Nominating and seconding speeches are also allowed for this election. Traditionally, the senator with the most seniority who hasn't previously served as President Pro Tempore would serve as the next President Pro Tempore. After the election, a committee is appointed to escort the President Pro Tempore-elect to the podium to take the oath of office and to address the Senate.

 

Learn more about Lt. Governors and Senate Presidents Pro Tempore, 1846 - present

 

At the beginning of session each chamber passes a resolution to spell out operational details. In the House, this is called the Housekeeping Resolution, and in the Senate, the Senate Caucus Report. Each chamber notifies the opposite chamber and the governor when their proceedings are concluded, organized, and ready to transact the business of Texas.

 

If you are unable to join us here in Austin, you can watch a live broadcast of the day's proceedings online at the House and Senate websites.

Thomas Reuben Bonner, Speaker of the Texas House during the 15th Legislature (1876).

Richard Bennett Hubbard Jr., Lt. Governor during the 15th Legislature (1876).

 

 

 

New Laws Effective September 1, 2016

The following bills take effect September 1, 2016. To see a full list of bill effective dates from the 84th Legislature (2015), please see the Library's Effective Dates for Bills page.
  • HB 735
    Relating to the collection of information regarding the number of alternatively fueled vehicles registered in this state.
  • HB 2154
    Relating to the functions and operation of the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
    *This Act takes effect September 1, 2015, except Section 21 takes effect September 1, 2016.
  • HB 2718
    Relating to a program to allow faith- and community-based organizations to offer supplemental assistance to certain recipients of public assistance.
  • HB 2804
    Relating to evaluation of public school performance.
    *This Act takes effect immediately, except Section 3 takes effect September 1, 2015, Section 4 takes effect September 1, 2016, and Section 5 takes effect September 1, 2017.
  • SB 195
    Relating to prescriptions for certain controlled substances, access to information about those prescriptions, and the duties of prescribers and other entities registered with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration; authorizing fees.
    *This Act takes effect September 1, 2016, except Sections 481.003(a), 481.076(c), 481.0761(a), (e), and (f), and 481.352, Health and Safety Code, as amended by this Act, and Section 481.0761(g), Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act, take effect immediately.
  • SB 200
    Relating to the continuation and functions of the Health and Human Services Commission and the provision of health and human services in this state.
    *This Act takes effect September 1, 2015, except Article 3 takes effect January 1, 2016, excluding Sections 3.02(b) and 3.42, which take effect September 1, 2015; Sections 1.23(a), (b), and (c) take effect September 1, 2016; and Sections 1.16 through 1.19 and 1.23(d) and (e) take effect September 1, 2017.
  • SB 206
    Relating to the continuation and functions of the Department of Family and Protective Services and procedures applicable to suits affecting the parent-child relationship, investigations of child abuse and neglect, and conservatorship of a child; affecting fee amounts and authorizing an administrative penalty.
    *This Act takes effect September 1, 2015, except Section 69 of this Act has no effect and Sections 42.050(d) and 42.052(f-1), Human Resources Code, as added by this Act, take effect September 1, 2016.
  • SB 208
    Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Workforce Commission.
    *This Act takes effect September 1, 2015, except Sections 4, 6, 7, 8, and 19 take effect September 1, 2016, and Section 26 has no effect.
  • SB 304
    Relating to certain violations committed by long-term care facilities, including violations that constitute the abuse and neglect of residents.
    *This Act takes effect immediately, except Sections 242.061(a-2) and (a-3), Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act, take effect September 1, 2016.
  • SB 1496
    Relating to background checks conducted by the Department of Family and Protective Services for certain child-care providers.
  • SB 1512
    Relating to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles fund.
 
 

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