This guide provides information on sources available for legislative intent research for the Texas Penal Code as enacted in 1973. That enactment was the culmination of a substantial revision process conducted by the Texas Penal Code Revision Project, a collaborative effort of the Texas Bar Association and the Texas Legislative Council, from 1965 to 1973. This was the first full recodification since the Code's previous enactment in 1856.
The Legislative Reference Library holds many materials produced by the revision committee. Through these materials, it is often possible to trace the reasoning and intended meaning of specific text through the opinions of the committee members who met repeatedly to discuss each chapter. We provide nine categories of information below to direct your research. See Using this Guide for information about terminology and references to documents.
- A Starting Point
- Provides selected sources that may be used as a starting point or overview for research, including complete drafts and critiques of the code.
- Revision Process
- Provides a timeline and brief overview of the revision process.
- Legislative Trail
- Provides an annotated listing of legislation in 1971 and 1973 leading to the enactment of the new Penal Code.
- Chronological List of Penal Code Revision Project Documents
- Lists the documents available for each year of the revision process.
- Documents Associated with Specific Penal Code Chapters and other Topics Studied
- Lists documents pertinent to each Penal Code chapter/topic.
- Topics Studied in the Revision Process, but Not Included in Final 1973 Bill
- Lists documents available for topics studied, but not included in the final bill (Abortion, Adult Probation, Criminal Defamation, Drugs, Electronic Eavesdropping, Treason).
- Lists minutes available from a series of early meetings in which many chapter drafts were debated.
- Administrative Documents
- Describes materials that relate to the personnel, funding, project background, and the actual process of revision (e.g. reports to the legislature on how the project is progressing, reading lists for project members, guides for drafting reports, meeting notifications, etc.).
- Prior History
- Provides links to previous Penal Codes.