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Prefiling Statistics, 87th Regular Session

In Texas, the Rules of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas (Rule 8, Section 7) and the Senate Rules (Rule 7.04(a)) allow legislators to prefile bills "beginning the first Monday after the general election preceding the next regular legislative session."

 

Prefiling for the 87th Texas Legislature began on Monday, November 9, the first Monday after the general election on Tuesday, November 3. On November 9, a total of 541 bills and joint resolutions were filed in the House and Senate.

 

The following are the number of bills and joint resolutions prefiled during the first week of the 87th Regular Session:

87th Regular Session – Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
(11/09/2020–11/13/2020)
HB/HJR 576
SB/SJR 169
Total 745

 

How do these numbers compare to previous sessions? The following are the number of bills and joint resolutions filed during the first week of the last four regular sessions:

86th Regular Session – Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
(11/12/2018–11/16/2018)
HB/HJR 382
SB/SJR 184
Total 566

 

85th Regular Session – Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
(11/14/2016–11/18/2016)
HB/HJR 389
SB/SJR 239
Total 628

 

84th Regular Session – Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
(11/10/2014–11/14/2014)
HB/HJR 282
SB/SJR 172
Total 454

 

83rd Regular Session – Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
(11/12/2012-11/16/2012)
HB/HJR 203
SB/SJR 106
Total 309

Chart comparing the number of bills and joint resolutions filed during the first week of prefiling from the past five legislative sessions.

For a general overview of bill prefiling, see our previous blog post, Bill Prefiling FAQs.

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.

 

January

Sexual Assault Survivors Day (January 28)—HB 2298

Community College Day (January 30)—SR 84

 

February

American Heart Month—HR 2140

Texas Homemade Pie Day (February 16)—HR 617

 

March

National Athletic Training Month—HR 1180

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

 

April

Minority Cancer Awareness Month—HR 1391

National Donate Life Month—HR 2141

 

May

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month—HR 2142SR 528

International Internal Audit Awareness Month—HR 1514SR 698

 

June

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month—HB 405

Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Month—HCR 148

 

July

Space Exploration Day (July 20)—HB 3084

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

 

September

Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month—HR 137HR 2144

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

 

October

Veterinary Technician Week—HB 2471

 

November

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: https://lrl.texas.gov/legis/redistricting/redistrictDocs.cfm

 

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

 

House

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)

 

Senate

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

 

Joint

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.

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