The 82nd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature begins today in Austin and it appears as though there is a lot of work to be done. Recent articles in the Houston Chronicle and the New York Times have highlighted many of the key issues facing Texas lawmakers such as immigration, redistricting, criminal justice, energy, and the budget shortfall, including possible cuts to education and health and human services.
In order to follow all of this legislative action, the Texas Legislature Online (TLO) website provides a number of helpful features. The front page highlights daily legislative activity in the House and Senate including links to video broadcasts, today’s calendars, today’s meetings, today’s filed bills, and today’s votes. If you need information about the types of bills that have been filed, you can view General Reports listing all of the bills filed in the House or the Senate for the entire legislative session. However, if you already know which bill you are interested in, you can use the Bill Lookup feature to get information about the history of the bill, the actions taken on the bill, amendments, and a graphic depicting the stages of the legislative process the bill has passed.
The TLO website also allows users to create personal bill lists and alerts to track specific bills and provides RSS Feeds to track upcoming committee meetings, upcoming calendars, and other daily legislative activities. Finally, the TLO website also has a mobile version allowing researchers to access legislative information easily from their smartphones.