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Bills Effective, September 2020

On September 1, 2020, eight bills that passed during the 86th Legislature take effect. 


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



Research Minute: Upcoming Primary Runoff and Special Elections

According to Texas Election Code § 172.003, "to receive a political party's nomination, a candidate in a primary election must receive a majority of the total number of votes received by all the candidates for the nomination." Following the March 3 primary elections, several House and Senate districts require a primary runoff before their candidates can be selected for the November election. Per Texas Election Code § 2.025, "a runoff election shall be held not earlier than the 20th or later than the 45th day after the date the final canvass of the main election is completed." The runoff date had been set for May 26, but the governor postponed it until July 14. 


Special elections may be called per the law set out in Texas Election Code § 3.003. However, they can be postponed as needed in a disaster, as will be the case for the Senate District 14 special election. That election had been set for May 2, but the governor postponed it until July 14. The governor also issued a proclamation that allows political subdivisions to postpone their elections until November.

Research Minute: Communicable Disease Statutes

On March 19, Commissioner John W. Hellerstedt, M.D., of the Texas Department of State Health Services, declared a state of public health disaster for the entire state of Texas. The authority to do so and explanation of what that means can be explored in the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act, which is located in Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 81, Communicable Diseases. The legislation was enacted by SB 1064, 68R. A few years later, the Act was added to the Health and Safety Code as part of statutory revision. (Previously it was found in VACS Art. 4419b-1.) 

Research Minute: Emergency Management Statutes

Wondering where to find statutes regarding emergency management, in light of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Governor Abbott's disaster proclamationTexas Government Code Chapter 418 on emergency management was added to the statues with the Texas Disaster Act of 1975. In addition to setting out the governor's powers and duties in a disaster, the chapter also sets out guidelines for the Texas Division of Emergency Management, local emergency management, and addresses some financial aspects of disaster response. The Texas Disaster Act has been amended many times since 1975, including several bills from the 86th Legislature (2019) that added to and amended the chapter.  

Research Minute: Searching for Signed Legislation

When looking for signed legislation, here are a few avenues of research to try:


If you know the bill number or session law chapter, and it's from the 82nd Legislature forward...

Use the Direct Search in the LRL's Legislative Archive System (LAS). For bills that passed, there will be a "signed legislation" link in the History tab. (If the bill passed but was filed without the governor's signature, there is still a "signed legislation" link. It will have signatures of the Chief Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate, but no governor's signature.)


If you know the topic of the bill, but not the citation...

LAS is a good starting point. You can use the Advanced Search to search by subject, author, session, committee, and other access points. You also can view a complete list of the bills passed in a session by navigating to Direct Search, selecting the legislature in the "search by session law chapter" option, and leaving the chapter box blank. This will give you the session's bill/chapter cross reference table, and you can peruse the bill captions to try and locate the number of the bill you seek. You can pull these tables all the way back to the 12th Legislature (1871)! Then, you can use one of the resources below to see if the signed legislation is available online:

Signed bills older than the 78th Regular Session are in the Texas Secretary of State's Government Filings Section records at TSLAC. Please call 512-463-5455 for information on accessing physical copies of signed bills. 


Note that signed copies of simple resolutions are not generally retained. Unsigned copies may be found in the bill files at the LRL. If you cannot find a simple resolution online in LAS or Texas Legislature Online (TLO), contact the LRL at 512-463-1252.

86th 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 86th Legislature: 

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 New, Renamed, and Abolished State Governmental Entities: 86th Legislature and updated the online statutes and Texas Constitution to reflect the 86th Legislature's enactments and the November 2019 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.

Bills Effective, January 2020

On January 1, 2020, 24 bills passed during the 86th Legislature took effect. In addition, provisions of 14 bills passed during the 86th Legislature became effective.


Sections of bills passed during the 84th Legislature also took effect on January 1.


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

Texas Recognition Months, Weeks, and Days

Recognition months, weeks, and days call attention to health issues, industries, people, and more. Some are codified in Government Code § 662. In addition, senators and representatives pass resolutions in each session to commemorate even more awareness dates. Below is a sampling of recognition months, weeks, and days observed with resolutions and bills by the 86th Legislature; click here to see a list of all the recognition dates from this past session.



Sexual Assault Survivors Day (January 28)—HB 2298

Community College Day (January 30)—SR 84



American Heart Month—HR 2140

Texas Homemade Pie Day (February 16)—HR 617



National Athletic Training Month—HR 1180

Master Sergeant Jonathan J. Dunbar Day (March 30)—HB 295



Minority Cancer Awareness Month—HR 1391

National Donate Life Month—HR 2141



Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month—HR 2142SR 528

International Internal Audit Awareness Month—HR 1514SR 698



Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month—HB 405

Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Month—HCR 148



Space Exploration Day (July 20)—HB 3084

First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day (July 21)—SR 163



Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month—HR 137HR 2144

Quanah Parker Day (second Saturday of September)—SCR 7



Veterinary Technician Week—HB 2471



American Diabetes Month—HR 2145

Municipal Courts Week (first week of November)—HR 1658


The year 2020

"The Year to Embrace the Gulf"—HCR 140

Resource Highlight: 78th Legislature Committee Minutes

Committee minutes from the 78th Legislature have been scanned and are available in the LRL's committee minutes database


House and Senate committee minutes are a valuable resource for understanding the work that goes into crafting legislation. Scanned minutes may also include other committee documentation, including agendas, exhibits, hearing notices, press releases, rules, testimony, transcripts, and vote sheets.


Of particular interest as the Legislature prepares for the next round of redistricting is the 78th's Redistricting committee records (with Texas Legislative Council plans, maps, and court documents). More court documents that are not in the minutes can be found here:


Below are some other interesting items that can now be found in our database:



Corrections (H)  (with testimony 2/18/2003)

Licensing and Administrative Procedures (H)  (with a statement of intent for HB 2689 by Keffer, 4/3/2003)



Criminal Justice (S)  (transcript 1/4/2005, testimony 3/10/2004)



Long-Term Care, Legislative Oversight (J)  (testimony/exhibits both dates)
Nutrition and Health in Public Schools (J)  (testimony/exhibits both dates)
Public School Finance, Select (J)  (testimony/exhibits 9/10/2003, 3/4/2004)


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.

Constitutional Amendment Election, November 2019

On November 5, 2019, voters will have a chance to consider ten constitutional amendments proposed by the 86th Legislature. The proposed amendments cover a wide range of topics, including taxation, funding for various state agencies, a flood infrastructure fund, and more.


For background and analysis of the ballot propositions, see the House Research Organization's Constitutional Amendments Proposed for November 2019 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, 498 amendments have been passed.  


Amendments Proposed for the November 5, 2019 ballot by the 86th Legislature

HJR 72 Prop. 1 The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.  
SJR 79 Prop. 2 The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.  
HJR 34 Prop. 3 The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.  
HJR 38 Prop. 4 The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.  
SJR 24 Prop. 5 The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing,and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.  
HJR 12 Prop. 6 The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.  
HJR 151 Prop. 7 The constitutional amendment allowing increase distributions to the available school fund.  
HJR 4 Prop. 8 The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.  
HJR 95 Prop. 9 The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.  
SJR 32 Prop. 10 The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.  

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