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Legal Research: Texas Legislation

Basic guide to finding legal information

Secondary Legal Sources

Summary of Enactments — Texas Documents, #L1400.8, 4th floor

These provide summaries of bills after each session, including special sessions of the legislature.

House Research Organization Publication — Texas Documents, #L1801.7 H816, 4th floor

Produced by and independent research organization of the House of representatives, these publications offer a variety of information about issues before the state legislature.

Newspaper Databases

Major Texas newspapers and national newspapers are indexed in many of the online databases. Print copies of newspapers can be found in the Periodicals department on the 3rd floor.

A Reference Guide to Texas law and Legal HistoryReference KFT1275 .R44

This book provides an in-depth guide to Texas legislative and legal research.

Texas Legislation

Text for the Constitution is located at the beginning of Vernon’s Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. It can also be printed online.
The Legislature meets in odd-numbered years and is frequently called into extra sessions. This publication contains current legislation. For text of House or Senate bills, look up the number of the bill in tables entitled "Bills and Resolutions Approved". These tables reveal which chapter in the session law service contains bill texts.
  • Information on introduced bills- is available through the Legislative Information at the Texas Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library of Texas also maintains a record of which articles and sections in the Vernon’s Texas Annotated Statutes and Codes are being affected by bills passed during the session.
This set is similar to Vernon’s Texas Session Law Service, but provides retrospective access to bill numbers and text of bills as they passed the legislature. It is an important tool for compiling Texas Legislative histories. Unlike U.S. legislative history, Texas legislative history is not written and must be compiled by the researcher. For a document explaining how to compile a history, go to http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legis/intent/LegHistory2.pdf
After being passed by the State Legislature, the bills are codified in this set. Eventually, the statues will all be codified. For now, one must use the General Index located at the end of the set to figure out whether information desired is in the "statutes" or the "codes". Additionally, the "codes" have their own indexes that provide more detail than the General Index. Additional copy of Vernon’s is located on the 6th floor.
  • Texas House and Senate Journals- Texas Documents, #L1803.6 J826, 4th floor
These publications are the official records of the proceedings of each House, but contain no debate. They are indexed in the bound volumes on the 5th floor and provide a basic history of bills.