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Finding Signed Copies of Bills and Session Law Chapter Numbers

Looking for signed copies of bills, or trying to determine in what session law chapter a bill can be found? Here are some tips.

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 will be made available online on the Bills and Resolutions page. The signing deadline for the 85th Legislature is Sunday, June 18.

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."

Signed copies from the 78th - 84th Legislatures are available online at the University of North Texas Laws and Resolutions Archive. Copies of signed bills older than the 78th Regular Session are available through the Texas State Archives. Please call (512) 463-5480.

 

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.

For questions about bill/chapter numbers for bills from the 85th R.S., please contact the Secretary of State's office at (512) 463-5561.

Session law chapter citations for previous sessions are available online through the Legislative Archive System. To view the complete bill/session law chapter cross reference table for a session, select the legislature in the "search by session law chapter" option and leave the chapter box blank. The LRL will be working to add these records for the 85th regular session.

Bill Statistics, May 31

These statistics were pulled on May 31 at 11:30 a.m. The numbers will continue to change as the governor takes action on these bills and resolutions. We will post occasional updates in the coming weeks. See our bill statistics page to compare these numbers with historical statistics.

 

House and Senate Bills
Filed 6,631
Sent to the Governor 1,208
Signed by the Governor 286
Vetoed by the Governor 0
Filed without the Governor's signature 28
House and Senate Joint Resolutions
Filed 169
Filed with the Secretary of State 9
House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions
Filed 202
Filed with the Secretary of State 13
Sent to the Governor 84
Signed by the Governor 42
Vetoed by the Governor 0

 

What's Next? Post-Session FAQ and Bill Statistics

House and Senate Bills
Filed 6,631
Sent to the Governor 824
Signed by the Governor 190
Vetoed by the Governor 0
Filed without the Governor's signature 16
House and Senate Joint Resolutions
Filed 169
Filed with the Secretary of State 7
House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions
Filed 202
Filed with the Secretary of State 11
Sent to the Governor 50
Signed by the Governor 37
Vetoed by the Governor 0

*Statistics as of May 30 at 8:30 a.m. See our bill statistics page to compare these numbers with historical statistics.

 

What happens now?

The 85th Regular Session ended May 29, 2017. Bills that passed both the House and the Senate were sent to the Governor for him to sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature. Joint Resolutions that passed both chambers of the Legislature were filed with the Secretary of State, and those that propose amendments to the Texas Constitution will be on the ballot for the November 7, 2017 election.

 

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 much time does the Governor have to act on a bill?

If a bill is sent to the Governor during the legislative session, the Governor has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to sign the bill or return the bill to the Legislature with objection. If after 10 days the bill is not returned to the Legislature by the Governor with objections or he has not yet signed it, the bill becomes law as if the Governor had signed it.

 

If the Legislature has adjourned sine die, or if the bill is presented to the Governor less than 10 days (not counting Sundays) prior to final adjournment, the Governor has 20 days (counting Sundays) after the final day of the session to sign or veto the bill. If neither action is taken, the bill becomes law without the Governor's signature (Texas Const. art. IV, § 14).

 

Sunday, June 18, is the 20th day following final adjournment of the 85th Regular Session. It is the last day the Governor can sign or veto bills passed during the 85th Regular Session. The LRL's vetoes database will be updated for the 85th Regular Session as we receive those documents.

 

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.

 

Where can I find more information about special sessions?

You can start with the LRL's FAQ about special sessions. The LRL website's section devoted to special sessions also includes historical information, links to statutory authority pertaining to special sessions, and more.

 

Conference Committee Reports and Bill Statistics

The 85th Regular Session ends Monday, May 29. As the end of session nears, many House and Senate members have been appointed to conference committees to resolve differences between their versions of bills. For information on the conference committee process, please see The Legislative Process in Texas and Texas Legislative Information and Resources.

 

To see a list of bills for which a conference committee was requested, please click here. Upon receiving completed conference committee reports, the LRL scans and posts them in our conference committee reports database. These reports, as well as a list of the members of a bill's conference committee, also are listed in the Texas Legislature Online record for each bill. 

 

The below chart provides a snapshot of bill statistics as of 11:30 am today.

Bill Statistics, 133rd Day

Bill statistics comparing the 133rd day of the 85th and the 84th Regular Sessions are below. For information about what happens to a bill after it passes, please see our Legislative FAQ page. To learn more about the legislative process and see bill statistics for earlier points in the 85th Regular Session, check out some of our recent blog posts

 

Bill Amendment FAQ

Please note that this post addresses amendments offered during committee or floor consideration.

 

What is an amendment?

An amendment is a change to a bill or resolution that is proposed either during committee or floor consideration.

During committee consideration of a bill, amendments can be offered by a member of that committee, whereas any member can offer amendments to a bill during floor consideration.

 

When can bills and resolutions be amended?

A floor amendment can be offered during second reading or third reading consideration of a bill. During the second reading of a bill, each amendment must be approved by a majority of the members present and voting to be adopted. However, a vote of two-thirds of the members present is required to adopt an amendment during the third reading of a bill.

Like floor amendments, a committee amendment must also be approved by majority vote of the chamber in which the bill is pending. A committee amendment is laid out and subject to debate on the chamber floor during the second reading consideration of the bill.

 

Where can I find information about amendments?

For amendments to current or recent legislation, use the Amendment Search on the Texas Legislature Online (TLO). This search tool allows you to use the following parameters to narrow your search results:

  • Legislature
  • Amendment Chamber
  • Author
  • Bill Number
  • Reading
  • Type
  • Action

The "Amendment Search" engine on TLO is located under the "Search" tab.

The ability to search for text within an amendment is particularly useful to see if language from one bill has been added by an amendment to another bill.

 

An explanation of the columns of information in the "Amendments" tab is provided above.

The "Amendments" tab in TLO contains more information about amendments, including the author of the amendment, amendment type, action, date the amendment was proposed, and link(s) to the amendment text.

The Current Amendment feature on TLO displays the text of amendments as they are considered on the House floor. 

If you are conducting historical research about a bill, use the Legislative Archive System database and the collection of scanned House and Senate Journals to look for amendment-related information. Bill files, which can be found under the "Text" tab, contain adopted amendments, while journals contain all proposed amendments.

When using the Legislative Archive System, the bill file is located under the "Text" tab.


More information about amendments can be found in the following resources:

 

 

Bill Statistics & Upcoming Deadlines, May 15

 

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:

  • Monday, May 22: Deadline for house to distribute last House Local & Consent Calendar with senate bills.
  • Tuesday, May 23: Last day for house to consider second reading senate bills and senate joint resolutions on the House Daily or Supplemental Calendar.
  • Wednesday, May 24: Last day for house to consider local and consent senate bills on second and third reading, and all third reading senate bills and senate joint resolutions on the House Supplemental Calendar. Last day for senate to consider all bills and joint resolutions on second or third reading.
  • Thursday, May 25: Midnight deadline for house to distribute senate amendments.
  • Friday, May 26: Last day for house to act on senate amendments. Midnight deadline for senate to print and distribute senate copies of conference committee reports on tax, general appropriations, and reapportionment bills.
  • Saturday, May 27: Midnight deadline for house to distribute house copies of all conference committee reports. Midnight deadline for senate to print and distribute senate copies of all conference committee reports on bills other than tax, general appropriations, and reapportionment bills, and all house amendments to senate bills and joint resolutions that did not go to a conference committee.
  • Sunday, May 28: Last day for house to adopt conference committee reports or discharge house conferees and concur in senate amendments. Last day for senate to concur in house amendments or adopt conference committee reports.
  • Monday, May 29: Last day of the 85th Regular Session (sine die); only corrections may be considered in house and senate.

House and Senate calendars are available on 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 14, 2017 are below. For information about what happens to a bill after it passes, please see our Legislative FAQ page.

 

  House Bills (HB) & Joint Resolutions (HJR) Senate Bills (SB) & Joint Resolutions (SJR)
Filed  4,444 2,356
Reported out of committee 1,915 1,003
Passed by chamber of origin 1,017 846
Referred to committee in opposite chamber 842 757
Reported out of committee in opposite chamber 160 339
Passed opposite chamber 82 88
Sent to the Governor (bills only) 21 55
Signed by the Governor (bills only) 1 5

 

 

 

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.

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