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
http://www.legis.state.tx.us/

Legislative Reference Library of Texas
http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/

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 http://www.law.uh.edu/Libraries.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Spying and International Law

With increasing numbers of foreign governments officially objecting to now-widely publicized U.S. espionage activities, the topic of the legality of these activities has been raised both by the target governments and by the many news organizations reporting on the issue.For those interested in better understanding this controversy by learning more about international laws concerning espionage, here are some legal resources that may be useful.

The following is a list of multinational treaties relevant to spies and espionage:
Brussels Declaration concerning the Laws and Customs of War (1874).Although never ratified by the nations that drafted it, this declaration is one of the earliest modern examples of an international attempt to codify the laws of war.Articles 19-22 address the identification and treatment of spies during wartime.These articles served mainly to distinguish active spies from soldiers and former spies, and provided no protections for spies captured in the act.The Hagu…

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 …