The Evolution of a Bill
The evolution of a bill through the Texas Legislature can be an arduous journey, and the bill that comes out may have some significant differences from the bill that went in.
Introduce a Bill
The action starts when a representative or senator introduces a bill. In a regular session, any bill that is introduced after the first 60 days requires the consent of at least four-fifths of the members present and voting in the house, or a full four-fifths of the membership in the senate. After the first reading of the bill, the presiding officer assigns the bill to a committee.
The Committee Process
The chair of each committee decides which bills will be considered. Some bills never make it through the committee, because the committee chair may decide to essentially ignore the bill. If the committee does choose to take action on a bill, it may take testimony in a public hearing, it may meet in a formal setting without hearing public testimony or it may discuss matters in a work session without taking formal action. Public testimony is almost always solicited, which allows citizens the opportunity to present their arguments. A committee may choose to take not action, or may issue a report that expresses the committee’s recommendations.
Floor Action and Amendments
If a bill makes it through the committee process, it receives a second reading before the full house or senate. Members may debate or offer an amendment, which must be approved by the majority of the members present and voting. After any amendments are made, the members then vote on whether to pass the bill. The legislature does a third reading, during which more amendments may be made but require a two-thirds majority for adoption. After a third reading, a final vote can pass the bill.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Once a bill makes it through the house where it originated, it must go to the opposite chamber for consideration. There, it may be further amended, and more action may be required.
Ultimately, the process of passing a bill can be lengthy and requires a good deal of oversight by an interested party to make it through the process reasonably intact. This is why hiring a good lobby firm can be the difference between your bill getting signed into law, or languishing in committee without ever being heard.
Contact The Posey Law Firm, PC today if you or your business need assistance with Texas legisaltive advocacy or consulting. We stand ready to evaluate your needs and provide professional insight and analysis of the solutions right for you! Call today by dialing toll free 1-888-269-1962.