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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.

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.  

Sunset Commission Self-Evaluation Reports, 2020-2021 Cycle

Self-evaluation reports for the 2020-2021 review cycle are now available on the Sunset Advisory Commission's website.

 

To better understand how the Sunset process works in Texas, see this diagram. The Sunset Commission’s last report of the 2018-2019 cycle, Final Results of Sunset Reviews, was published in June 2019. A comprehensive listing of all of the entities reviewed by the Sunset Commission is available here.

 

 

Cover image by Flickr user Nathan Eaton Jr.

 

Legislative Intent in the Minutes

Many LRL researchers are interested in legislative intent—understanding why a bill becomes law, and who proposes ideas or reforms. However, "intent" is not always explicitly spelled out.

 

In more recent years, legislative intent often can be found in bill analyses within the bill files. It sometimes is recorded in the text of the bill or in the house or senate journals.

 

As we work on digitizing past committee minutes, we have also found some instances where legislative intent was added to the record in committee hearings.

Both of these intent documents are noted as reports in the committee minutes database records for their respective committees and sessions. You also can access them via the bills' records in the Legislative Archive System.

 

Conducting legislative research involves consulting a wide range of documents and close attention to detail. But checking everything is worth it—you never know which resource will provide the information you need!

Bills Effective, September 1, 2019

On September 1, 2019, 820 bills passed during the 86th Legislature will take effect. In addition, provisions of 25 bills passed during the 86th Legislature will become effective.

 

Sections of bills passed during the 85th Legislature84th Legislature, and 83rd Legislature also will take effect on September 1.

 

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

Resource Highlight: Legislative Committee Minutes Online

The following legislative committee minutes in the LRL collection are scanned and available on our Committee minutes and related documents page:

 

House: 42nd – 77th

Senate: 27th – 77th

Interim: 38th – 77th

 

We most recently added interim minutes from the 62nd Legislature (1971-1972). As always, some committees are unique (see the interim committees on vegetable marketing and imported fire ant infestation), and others address major issues like school finance and coastal resources that the Legislature continues to work on today.

 

Minutes and other committee records from the 77th Legislature (2001) onward are available via Texas Legislature Online.

Resource Highlight: Spotlight on the 86th Legislature

Now that session is over, do you need to find statistics on bills passed, dates that bills take effect, constitutional amendments up for election, and more? Use the links below to find information for the 86th Legislature:

Bill Effective Dates, 86th Legislature

The Library has created its bill effective dates page for the 86th Legislature. Legislators passed 474 bills that are now in effect. (473 bills and provisions within 15 bills took effect immediately; one bill took effect on June 4.)

 

The remainder of the 1,373 total bills signed by the governor or filed without the governor's signature will take effect over the next five years, between August 26, 2019, and January 1, 2024. Peruse our page to find detailed information about what takes effect when.

 

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

Research Minute: Finding Past Bill Statistics

Interested to know how the numbers for the 86th Legislature, Regular Session, compare to past Legislatures? Our bill statistics page goes all the way back to the 16th Legislature (1879)!

 

 

End-of-Session Comparison, 86th Legislature

Interested in how the final results of the 86th Legislature's regular session compares to the past few sessions? See the charts below to compare and contrast.

 

To see past bill statistics and other session information, see previous blog posts on the legislative process.

 

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