How the Legislative Process Works
The Texas Legislature is a bicameral system divided into 2 chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Their duties are to pass all laws governing the state and submit all constitutional amendments to the voters of Texas.
The Texas Legislature convenes in Austin for a regular session every 2 years on odd numbered years. A regular session is 140 days. The Governor may call additional 30-day sessions (“special sessions”) as he or she deems necessary. At such sessions, the legislature may consider only the subjects submitted by the Governor.
How a Bill Becomes a Law
A law begins as a bill. A Representative or Senator gets an idea for a bill by listening to the people he or she represents and then working to solve their problem. The idea is researched to determine what state law needs to be changed or created to best solve that problem. Once a bill has been written, it is introduced by a member of the House or Senate in the member’s own chamber with the exception of tax bills which must originate in the House.
Composition, Terms, and Duties
- The Senate is composed of 31 members.
- The Senators are elected to a term of 4 years.
- The Lieutenant Governor, elected by the voters, presides over the Senate.
- The Lieutenant Governor appoints all Senate committees and assigns all bills to committee.
- Senate confirmation is required for all state officials appointed by the Governor.
Texas House of Representatives
- The House is composed of 150 members.
- The Representatives are elected to a term of 2 years.
- The Speaker of the House, elected by a majority vote of the House members, presides over the House of Representatives.
- The Speaker appoints all House committees.
- Tax bills may only originate in the House.