House and Senate committee minutes are a valuable resource for understanding the work that goes into crafting legislation. Senate standing committee minutes in the Legislative Reference Library collection from before 1973 have been scanned and are available in the LRL's committee minutes database.
Scanned minutes, particularly from earlier sessions, may also include other committee documentation, including agendas, exhibits, hearing notices, press releases, rules, testimony, transcripts, and vote sheets. Some interesting examples include:
- The 59th Legislature's Senate State Affairs Committee minutes from 1965, which are the earliest Senate standing committee minutes we have scanned.
- The report and proceedings of the 27th Legislature's State Investigating Committee, provided for in SJR 1, 27th 2nd C.S. (1901). This was an investigation of state government, including findings and testimony of the Treasury Department, General Land Office, Comptroller's Office, various asylums, and other agencies, as well as a report on penitentiaries.
- The Senate of the 47th Legislature considered the State Department of Public Welfare's administration of the Old Age Assistance Program as a Committee of the Whole Senate, February–March 1941, pursuant to SR 19. (Fun fact—this transcript is on onion skin paper.)
- Investigations on concerns regarding textbooks and the University of Texas by the 48th Senate (1943–1944, during and following Homer Rainey's term as UT president) and Texas A&M College by the 50th Legislature (1947, following student demonstrations on funding issues).
- Investigations of the Board of Pardons & Paroles, Texas Good Roads Association, Feed Shortage, and the Texas State Railroad, all in the 1940s.
Other interesting items include the minutes of the 60th Legislature's Senate Public Health Committee, which include a notebook containing bills with analysis and comment, and the legal paperwork surrounding the Committee of the Whole Senate (76th) – Election of Lieutenant Governor, convened to select the lieutenant governor when Rick Perry vacated the seat to become governor.
Note that some of the investigation committees' transcripts are best accessed using the committee search function.
The LRL database also allows users access to committee documents from House, Senate, and Joint committees, 63rd–77th Legislatures (1973–2001), as well as to search for minutes from the 78th–85th Legislatures that are available through Texas Legislature Online.
Visit our blog post about House standing committee minutes prior to 1973 to learn more about those resources.