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Guide to Texas Legislative Information (GTLI)
Process for a Bill
 
Referral to a committee

When a bill is introduced or is received from the opposite chamber for consideration, it is read for the first time by its caption only and is referred by the speaker or lieutenant governor to an appropriate committee.

In the house rules, each committee is assigned jurisdiction over a specific subject matter, and the speaker refers legislation to house committees based on those subject matter jurisdictions. The senate rules do not specify subject matter jurisdictions for senate committees. The lieutenant governor may refer legislation in the senate to any standing committee or subcommittee, although unofficial subject matter jurisdictions are usually followed.

Committees are formed at the beginning of the regular session and generally consist of 5 to 29 members. For committees of the house of representatives, membership of most committees is determined in part by seniority and in part by appointments by the speaker. Each representative sits on at least one committee, and most representatives sit on two or three committees. The house in the 80th Legislature had 40 substantive and procedural standing committees.

For committees of the senate, membership is determined entirely by appointments by the lieutenant governor. Senators generally sit on three or four committees each, and the senate in the 80th Legislature had 15 standing committees.

A bill requiring extensive analysis may be assigned to a subcommittee of the standing committee to which the bill has been referred. Subcommittees are appointed by the committee chair from the standing committee’s membership. After concluding its deliberation on a bill, the subcommittee may submit a written report to the full committee.

Immediately after a bill has been referred to committee, a determination must be made as to whether a fiscal note or other impact statement is required, and if so, the Legislative Budget Board prepares the note or statement. In preparing the note or statement, the Legislative Budget Board may consult the state agencies affected by the legislation. In the house, the fiscal note must be attached to the affected bill before a public hearing on the bill may be held, and if the bill is reported from committee, the fiscal note must be attached to the bill as part of the committee report when it is printed and distributed to the members of the house. A bill may proceed through the legislative process before an impact statement is completed, but a copy of the impact statement must be distributed to the members as soon as it has been completed. Senate practice is for a copy of the fiscal note to be provided to the committee members before a final vote on a bill in committee is taken. The fiscal note is included as part of the senate committee report.

Referral to a committee
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  This website is published by the Texas Legislative Council. This page was last updated August 30, 2010.