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Research Minute: Special Sessions

The 1st Called Session of the 87th Legislature begins tomorrow at 10 a.m.

For information about called sessions, commonly referred to as special sessions, check out the "Special Sessions of the Texas Legislature" page on the Legislative Reference Library (LRL) website. Here, you can find past special session dates with gubernatorial proclamations, statutory authority, frequently asked questions, Texas Attorney General Opinions, and other resources. If you are accessing this page from within the Capitol Complex, you can also view articles related to special sessions from our clips database.


Special Sessions and Years includes links to official proclamations and session topics assigned by the governor for the current special session and historical special sessions back to the 9th Legislature. We have added information about the 87th Legislature, 1st Called Session, including Governor Abbott's proclamation and topics.


Research Minute: Linked Minutes Available for 63rd–81st Legislatures

Scanned committee minutes have been linked to bills in the Legislative Archive System (LAS) for the 63rd–81st Legislatures (1973–2009). Linking bills to scanned minutes from the 82nd-83rd Legislatures is currently underway.

When looking at a specific bill's LAS record, minutes are linked under the "Committee information" tab.

You can also find links to committee minutes at the bottom of the "History" tab view.

You can search minutes by committee name, chamber, and session.

More recent committee minutes can be accessed via the "Committees" tab on Texas Legislature Online.

Research Minute: Texas Appointment System

Use the Texas Appointment System, under the Legislators & Leaders tab on the LRL's website, to find current information on the membership of state councils, boards, and commissions appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House.



Search by the name of a person to view a list of an individual's current appointments.


Search by group name to find a group's creation date, purpose, legal authority, and a list of current members. The entry for a group may also include links to outside resources, such as the group's website, a history of the group, or a directory listing.


Happy Juneteenth!

On June 19 ("Juneteenth"), 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which read, "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor." 

Representative Al Edwards authored H.B. 1016, 66th R.S. (1979), declaring June 19th, Emancipation Day, an official Texas holiday. There has also been legislation both in other states and at the Federal level concerning Juneteenth. In 2016, a monument dedicated to African Americans in Texas was unveiled on the Texas Capitol grounds (cover image).The Juneteenth historical marker (right) was installed in Galveston on June 21, 2014.    


Learn more about Juneteenth and the holiday's Texas origins in the Handbook of Texas Online.





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.

Resource Highlight: Index to Sections Affected

Do you need to track bills by code or find out how a particular bill would change the statutes? Check out the LRL's Index to Sections Affected (ISAf). Librarians already have indexed more than 2,300 bills this session, and they are continually entering data for the 86th Legislature as bills are received throughout the day.


Search features include:

  • Search by the Code/Statute—e.g., Government Code, Ch. 824 (right)
  • Search by Bill—find all the code sections affected by a bill (especially helpful when looking at a Sunset bill or a large omnibus bill)
  • Limit search results by bill type (House or Senate, bill or resolution) and/or version (introduced, house and senate committee reports, engrossed, enrolled, vetoed, or any)
  • Link to the current statutes in your search results

ISAf additionally is helpful to determine the status of the law after a session has concluded and before the online statutes have been updated.


Also, you can subscribe to ISAf to receive updates in an RSS feed. 


Research Minute: Committee Resources

With Senate and House committees appointed and meetings underway, do you need to know more about a certain committee? The Library has many helpful resources in the Committees section of our website. You can...



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