The records of the Texas Legislature fall within three broad categories: House of Representatives, Senate, and Joint Committees. Records of the House of Representatives and the Senate apply specifically to those sides of the Legislature, while Joint Committees applies to both sides. Below that will be the records of individual legislators.
Click on the logo for category for more information about that part of the Legislature and records held in the Texas Digital Archive.
|House of Representatives
The Texas House of Representatives is one arm of the Legislature of the State of Texas (the other being the Texas Senate), which the Texas Constitution (Article III, Section 1) vests with all legislative power of the state. The primary legislative power is enacting laws, and the most visible function of the legislature is to make public policy through drafting, considering, and passing bills and resolutions. Biennially, the House of Representatives elects a speaker from its membership to serve as its presiding officer. The House of Representatives consists of 150 representatives elected in even-numbered years for two-year terms. A representative must be at least 21 years old, a qualified voter, and a resident of Texas for at least two years and of the district represented for at least one year immediately preceding election.
The Texas Senate is one arm of the Legislature of the State of Texas (the other being the Texas House of Representatives), which the Texas Constitution (Article III, Section 1) vests with all legislative power of the state. The primary legislative power is enacting laws, and the most visible function of the legislature is to make public policy through drafting, considering and passing bills and resolutions. By virtue of office, the lieutenant governor is president of the senate, with the right to debate and vote on questions in committee of the whole and the right to cast the deciding vote when the chamber is equally divided. The senate elects one of its members president pro tempore to perform the duties of the lieutenant governor during his or her absence or disability, or when the office is vacant. The 1876 Constitution fixes the number of senators at 31, elected from senatorial districts according to state constitutional guidelines to serve overlapping four-year terms. A senator must be at least 26 years old, a qualified voter, and a resident of Texas for at least five years and of the district represented for at least one year immediately preceding election.
The Texas Legislative Council was established by legislative act in 1949 and was activated in 1950. The mission of the council is to provide professional, nonpartisan service and support to the Texas Legislature and the legislative agencies. The council serves as a source of impartial research and information. It employs professional, administrative, and technical staff to assist legislators in drafting and analyzing proposed legislation and in obtaining information on specific legislative problems and on matters affecting the general welfare of the state. Council staff also handle the printing, processing, and distribution of legislative documents and provide computer support to the legislature and all of the other legislative agencies.