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How Does a Bill Become a Law in Texas?

How Does a Bill Become a Law in Texas?
How Does a Bill Become a Law in Texas?

The Constitution of the State of Texas sets out a meticulously structured legislative process that ensures every proposed bill undergoes thorough scrutiny before becoming a law. With a rigorous process, the Texas Legislature ensures enactment of only the most well-considered and necessary legislation.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how a bill becomes a law in Texas:

Introduction of the Bill

Any member of the Texas Legislature, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, can introduce a bill during a legislative session. The chief clerk of the House or secretary of the Senate then assigns and reads the number and caption aloud for the first time.

Referral to Committee

After the first reading, the Speaker of the House or the Lieutenant Governor in the Senate refer the bill to a relevant committee. This committee specializes in the subject matter of the bill, such as education, finance, or health.

Committee Consideration

The committee reviews the bill, holds public hearings, and gathers testimonies from experts, stakeholders, and the general public. This is a crucial stage as it allows for in-depth scrutiny and possible amendments to the bill.

Committee Report

After deliberation, the committee votes on the bill. If approved, the committee sends the bill, along with a committee report detailing the committee’s findings and recommendations, back to the chamber where it originated.

Floor Consideration

During second reading, members debate the bill and may propose further amendments. An amendment requires a simple majority at this stage. If the bill passes this stage, it advances to a third and final time on a subsequent legislative day. Amendments on third reading require a two-thirds vote.

Voting

After the third reading, the presiding officer of the chamber calls a vote. If the legislation receives a majority vote, it moves to the other chamber (from House to Senate or vice versa) and goes through a similar process.

Conference Committee

If the second chamber approves a different version of the bill, the measure goes back to the originating chamber for concurrence. If the originating chamber does not concur, then the presiding officer of each chamber appoints a conference committee comprising members from both chambers to reconcile the differences. Both chambers must then approve the reconciled version.

Governor’s Desk

Once both chambers pass the bill in identical form, it is sent to the Governor of Texas. The Governor has three options:

If the Legislature has adjourned Sine Die, the Governor has 20 days to decide whether to sign, veto, or allow to become law without signature.

Once signed or enacted without a veto, the bill is assigned a chapter number and published in the Texas statutes. It becomes effective either immediately, on a specific future date, or 90 days after the legislative session ends, depending on its provisions.

Summary

In conclusion, the journey of a bill becoming a law in Texas is a comprehensive process that involves multiple stages of review, debate, and public participation. This rigorous system ensures that the laws enacted serve the best interests of the citizens of Texas.

At GovExperts, we’re happy to talk about your public policy objectives and how you can leverage the Texas legislative process.

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