Skip to main content

Researching Texas Legislative History Online

Researching legislative history is important in order to determine the legislative intent behind difficult statutory language. For most states, locating legislative history documents is virtually impossible, but Texas provides a substantial amount of information online through the following two websites:

Texas Legislature Online

Legislative Reference Library of Texas

The goal is to locate the bill file which contains different versions of the bill, analyses, committee reports, history of the bill, and anticipated fiscal impact of the bill. Follow these simple steps to research Texas Legislative History:

1. Locate the code section by using the Texas Legislature Online website and click "Statutes" from the main page. Look for the statement at the end of the code section that contains the legislative session and chapter number.

2. Go to the Legislative Reference Library of Texas website, click "Bill Chapter Cross Reference Table", and select the legislative session and chapter number to determine the bill number.

3. For bills from 1993-present, go to the Texas Legislature Online website and enter the bill number and legislative session to access the bill file. For bills from 1961-2001, you can obtain the bill file from the Legislative Reference Library's site by selecting "Legislative Archive System".

Bill files will not contain transcripts to floor debates or committee hearings. In Texas, such hearings are tape recorded and are available by contacting the Texas House/Senate Media offices. Recent hearings are accessible on the Texas Legislature Online website.

To learn more about researching Texas legislative history, consult the O'Quinn Law Library's research guide by selecting "Legal Research Guides" from the drop down menu under "Research Resources" on the law library's website at


Popular posts from this blog

Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades

It’s that time of year again. Law students across the country are poring over their class notes and supplements, putting the finishing touches on their outlines, and fueling their all-night study sessions with a combination of high-carb snacks and Java Monsters. This can mean only one thing: exam time is approaching.

If you’re looking for a brief but effective guide to improving your exam performance, the O’Quinn Law Library has the book for you. Alex Schimel’s Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades, now in its second edition, provides a clear and concise strategy for mastering the issue-spotting exams that determine the majority of your grade in most law school classes. Schimel finished second in his class at the University Of Miami School Of Law, where he taught a wildly popular exam workshop in his 2L and 3L years, and later returned to become Associate Director of the Academic Achievement Program. The first edition of his book was written shortly after he finished law school, …

Citing to Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated: Finding Accurate Publication Dates (without touching a book)

When citing to a current statute, both the Bluebook (rule 12.3.2) and Greenbook (rule 10.1.1) require a  practitioner to provide the publication date of the bound volume in which the cited code section appears. For example, let's cite to the codified statute section that prohibits Texans from hunting or selling bats, living or dead. Note, however, you may remove or hunt a bat that is inside or on a building occupied by people. The statute is silent as to Batman, who for his own safety, best stay in Gotham City.
This section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife code is 63.101. "Protection of Bats." After checking the pocket part and finding no updates in the supplement, my citation will be:
Tex. Parks & Wild. Code Ann. § 63.101 (West ___ ). When I look at the statute in my bound volume of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, I can clearly see that the volume's publication date is 2002. But, when I find the same citation on Westlaw or LexisNexis, all I can see is that the …