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Resource Highlight: Deceptive Trade Practices Act Collection

On May 15, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) involving the company’s prescription opioids. 

 

Addressing the marketing of prescription opioid drugs is just one instance of the DTPA at work...and the Legislative Reference Library has a wealth of information about the Act. The 63rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session, created the DTPA in 1973 through HB 417 and its companion bill SB 75. In 2004, Joe K. Longley and Philip K. Maxwell donated documents to the LRL relating to the DTPA and its private remedies amendments.

 

In 2016, the DTPA collection was enhanced by the addition of the Mark L. Kincaid Papers. Kincaid, who was known as "The Policyholder's Lawyer," had a reputation for crafting public policy for the protection of insurance policy holders who had little or no ability to prevent abuses in the claims process. His records showcase efforts to curb tort reform and document the intent behind key legislation, and to monitor and influence changes to the DTPA.

 

Explore the LRL's Deceptive Trade Practices Act collection to view legislative drafts, transcripts of hearings, correspondence, news clippings, talking points, and other commentary, to gain a better understanding of the Act's legislative intent and history. You can search for specific keywords, types of documents, and by date ranges and/or bill numbers, or you can simply browse the collection.

 

TxLege Terms: Concurrent/Joint/Simple Resolutions

In this occasional series, we explain terms used in the Texas legislative environment.

 

Texas legislators can introduce three types of resolutions*: 

 

Concurrent Resolution—A type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature and generally requires action by the governor. A concurrent resolution is used to convey the sentiment of the legislature and may offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or a request for action by another governmental entity. Concurrent resolutions are also used to memorialize (petition) the U.S. Congress, express the views of the legislature, designate official state symbols, and adopt official date or place designations. Additionally, concurrent resolutions are used for administrative matters that require the approval of both chambers, such as providing for adjournment or a joint session, but these types of concurrent resolutions do not require action by the governor.

 

Joint Resolution—A type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature but does not require action by the governor. A joint resolution is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas.

 

Simple Resolution—The type of legislative measure that is considered only within the chamber in which it is filed. A simple resolution can offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or the views of that chamber. This type of measure is also used to name a mascot, memorialize (petition) the U.S. Congress, adopt or change rules of procedure, initiate a study by a single chamber, and request action by another governmental entity.

 

Resolutions in the 85th Legislature
Introduced
Signed/Filed/Enrolled
Concurrent Resolutions, 85R
202
97
Concurrent Resolutions, 85(1)
22
2
Joint Resolutions, 85R
169
9
Joint Resolutions, 85(1)
52
0
Simple Resolutions, 85R
3,670
3,643
Simple Resolutions, 85(1)
663
654

 

*Definitions taken from the Texas Legislative Glossary, published by the Texas Legislative Council for the 85th Legislature.

Texas Official Capital Designations

Did you know that Bridgeport is the Stagecoach Capital of Texas, the Lake Whitney area is the Getaway Capital of Texas, and Richardson is the International Business Capital of North Texas? Government Code § 391.003 lays out the guidelines for the legislature to assign “place designations.” The designations must reflect some historical or cultural significance, and the legislature may not assign the same designation to more than one event or location. A place designation lasts for 10 years but may be renewed with a new resolution. See below for a list of place designations established by the 83rd–85th Legislatures. (You can see a full list of place designations here.)

 

85th Legislature Designations

Place
Designation
Resolution
Big Spring
Lighted Poinsettia Capital of Texas
Dripping Springs
Wedding Capital of Texas
Rockwall
Live Music Capital of North Texas
Spurger
Knife Capital of Texas
Stamford
Western Art Show Capital of Texas

 

84th Legislature Designations

Place
Designation
Resolution
Abilene
Storybook Capital of Texas
Brownsville
Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley
Dripping Springs
Wedding Capital of Texas
Jasper
Butterfly Capital of Texas
Jim Hogg County
Vaquero Capital of Texas
Nocona
Classic Car Capital of Texas
Poteet
Strawberry Capital of Texas
Quitaque
Bison Capital of Texas
Terry County
Grape Capital of Texas

 

83rd Legislature Designations

Place
Designation
Resolution
Canton
Walking Capital of Texas
Floydada
Pumpkin Capital of Texas
Garland
Cowboy Hat Capital of Texas
Grand Prairie
Purple Martin Conservation Capital of Texas
Gregg County
Balloon Race Capital of Texas
Jewett
Sculpture Capital of Texas
Mansfield
Pickle Capital of Texas
Nacogdoches
Garden Capital of Texas

85th Legislative Session Summaries Available

After each legislative session, the House Research Organization (HRO), the Senate Research Center (SRC), and the Texas Legislative Council (TLC) publish overviews of the session's accomplishments. These reports provide summaries of enrolled bills and analysis of major legislation. All three are now available for the 85th Legislature, Regular Session and First Called Session: 

Each overview is organized by topic and gives a unique look at the session. The SRC overview provides brief summaries of all enrolled bills, including an analysis of the appropriations bill. The TLC overview offers summaries of all enrolled legislation, notes effective dates, and contains veto statements. The HRO overview highlights legislation on major topics, including bills that did not pass, and features extensive analysis and statements by supporters and opponents.  
 

The TLC additionally published Interim Studies Established by Enrolled Bills and Resolutions: 85th Legislature and New, Renamed, and Abolished State Governmental Entities: 85th Legislature. They also updated the online statutes and Texas Constitution to reflect the 85th Legislature's enactments and the November 2017 constitutional amendment election outcomes.
 

If you're looking for information on previous sessions, overviews back to the 48th Legislature can be found at the Legislative Reference Library's Session Summaries page.

Texas Recognition Months

Most people know of a few recognition months, like Black History Month in February and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. However, Texas observes many more recognition and awareness months. Some are codified in Government Code § 662, Subchapter D. In addition, senators and representatives pass resolutions in each session to commemorate even more recognition months. 

 

Recognition months call attention to health issues, industries, groups of people, and more. Click here to see a list of all of the recognition months observed with resolutions by the 85th Legislature. There also are a plethora of recognition weeks and days that are codified in the Government Code and honored by the legislature. Below is a sampling of some of the lesser-known recognition months:

 

January

Human Trafficking Prevention Month (Government Code § 662.107)

National Glaucoma Awareness Month (HR 2682, 85R)

 

February

Self-Care Awareness Month (HR 592, 85R)

 

March

Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month (HR 177, 85RSR 58, 85R)

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (SR 446, 85R)

 

April

Texas Fruit and Vegetable Month (Government Code § 662.103)

Distracted Driving Awareness Month (HR 2686, 85R)

 

May

Postpartum Depression Awareness Month (Government Code § 662.110)

Fallen First Responder Awareness Month (HCR 86, 85R)

 

June

Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Month (HR 2647, 85R)

National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month (HR 2687, 85R)

 

July

Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month (Government Code § 662.101)

Train Safety Awareness Month (HCR 49, 85R)

 

August

National Immunization Awareness Month (HR 182, 85-1)

 

September

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month (Government Code § 662.106)

Hunger Action Month (HR 283, 85-1)

 

October

Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month (Government Code § 662.109)

Texas Pecan Month (HR 371 and HR 372, 85-1)

 

November

American Diabetes Month (HR 2692, 85R)

 
(None in December!)

Bills Effective on January 1, 2018

On January 1, 2018, 26 bills that passed during the regular session of the 85th Legislature will take effect. Eight additional bills have sections that will go into effect on January 1. 

 

Additionally, one bill that passed during the 84th Legislature will take effect on January 1.

 

To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

Legislative Scorecards, 85th Legislature

Following each legislative session in Texas, some organizations create scorecards "grading" the performance of legislators. Scorecards typically focus on bills significant to a particular viewpoint or subject area.

 

The LRL tracks legislative scorecards as we find them to be a helpful research tool. Listed below are the 85th Legislature scorecards we have found thus far. 

 

Conservative Round Table of Texas

 

Empower Texans

 

Environment Texas

 

Equality Texas

 

Sierra Club – Lone Star Chapter

 

Texas Association of Business

 

Texas Right to Life

 

Texas Uniting for Reform & Freedom (TURF)

 

Texas Values Action

 

Young Conservatives of Texas

 

Cover image by Flickr user Jon Wiley / CC BY-NC 2.0.

Texas Law Timeline

Tackling Texas legal research can be daunting…but understanding how it all fits together is a good start! The LRL's Texas law timeline starts from the very beginning with the 1824 Mexican Constitution and charts to the present day with the ongoing Statutory Revision Program. You can click and drag the timeline by year and select timeline items to see more information and access links to bills, revisor's reports, and more.

 

The page also highlights online sources for researching current Texas laws and finding historical legal sources. From the Legislative Archive System and Texas Legislature Online to digitized Texas Constitutions and historical Texas statutes (and many more offerings), the LRL and other state libraries and agencies work hard to make Texas law resources readily accessible to the public. These databases are a work in progress and are updated as historical materials are digitized…and of course, as new legislation is created!

 

The LRL also houses a variety of print materials related to legislation and the legislative process. You can read more about these resources here; please contact the Library at 512-463-1252 if you have any questions.

State Budget Resources

Whether you're examining current state budget documents or seeking historical perspective, visit the LRL's budget page to explore a variety of resources on the subject. This page can be your one-stop shop to find the final General Appropriations Act, proposed budgets and agency requests, the biennial revenue estimate, and more for the current biennium.  An interactive timeline helps visitors track the current status of the biennium and is updated as budget bills and related documents are released.

 

You'll also find timelines for past biennium that are available as PDFs, as are scanned appropriations acts and major biennial appropriations bills from 1927-2015. The page includes links to reports from the Comptroller and the Legislative Budget Board, as well as helpful guides explaining the budget-writing process in Texas.

 

The Library also has state agency budgets, legislative appropriations requests, agency strategic plans, and other primary documents relating to the budget process available for use in print.

 

Constitutional Amendment Election, November 2017

On November 7, 2017, voters will have a chance to consider seven constitutional amendments proposed by the 85th Legislature. The proposed amendments cover a wide range of topics, including property taxes, raffles, home equity loan provisions, and more.

 

For background and analysis of the ballot propositions, see the House Research Organization's Constitutional Amendments Proposed for November 2017 Ballot, and the Texas Legislative Council's Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments.

 

The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation, at an estimated 86,936 words (The Book of the States, vol. 49). The Constitution is changed through amendments, which are proposed by the Texas Legislature and accepted or rejected by the voters. Since the current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876, 491 amendments have been passed.  

 

Amendments Proposed for the November 7, 2017 ballot by the 85th Legislature

HJR 21 Prop. 1 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 for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.  
SJR 60 Prop. 2 The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.  
SJR 34 Prop. 3 The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.  
SJR 6 Prop. 4 The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.  
HJR 100 Prop. 5 The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.  
SJR 1 Prop. 6 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 first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.  
HJR 37 Prop. 7 The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.  

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