February 1, 2021
The Texas Legislature’s 87th Regular Session is underway! The session began on January 12th, 2021, and will run through May 31st, 2021. Read on for information on keeping up with the latest from the 87th session.
Who’s in the Texas Legislature?
If you’re not sure who your representatives are in the Texas House or Senate, you can enter your street address or county in the Who Represents Me? tool on the Texas Legislature Online (TLO) website to find out. You can also find a complete list of members of the Texas House and members of the Texas Senate through TLO.
How does the legislative process work?
Are you a bit rusty on the specifics of the Texas legislative process? Don’t worry, there are a lot of resources to help get you up to speed. In particular, we recommend starting with Citizen Handbook: How the Texas Legislature Works. This handbook from the Texas Senate covers the basics of the Texas legislative system, discusses steps you can take to advocate for specific laws, and includes a glossary of common terms used in the session. This handbook is available online and is roughly 30 pages long, so you can breeze through it quickly.
Are 30 pages of legislative process and history too much for you? TLO also has a quick overview of the steps typically involved in passing a bill into law. Additionally, the Texas Legislative Council has a brief guide titled The Legislative Process in Texas [PDF] with more detail. You can also find flowcharts for the process for Senate bills [PDF] and for House bills [PDF] on their website, along with a refresher on how to read bills and statutes.
For the full firehose of Texas legislative information and resources, see the Texas Legislative Council’s guide to legislative information [PDF].
How do I keep track of new legislation?
Texas Legislature Online is the official site for the Texas legislature and is the best place to track new legislation. You can start at TLO’s General Reports page and browse a list of the day’s bill activity, filed bills, bill analyses, and more. You can also track specific bills and receive email updates on new developments by signing up for MyTLO.
Where can I find news and updates on the session?
Lots of different government, media, and nonprofit organizations provide their own updates on the ongoing legislative session. Additionally, we’ll make a list of legislative recaps of the session available on our website after the session ends. For now, here’s a sample of places to go for updates:
- The Legislative Reference Library has a daily legislative clipping service that provides links to articles about the session from over 30 national and regional news outlets.
- The Texas District and County Attorney’s Association has a page for legislative updates on their site, with a breakdown on each week.
- The Texas Municipal League has weekly updates available on their site.
- The Texas Association of Counties has a Legislative News section on their website.
- The Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer both have dedicated spaces to covering the 87th session. You may want to check your local Texas newspaper for more coverage as well.
I have a question about the 87th legislative session. Who can I ask?
Our friends at the Legislative Reference Library (LRL) have a bill status hotline for questions about the current status of a bill, the legislative process, contact information for members of the Texas House and Senate, and info about finding copies of specific bills. The toll-free number if you are in Texas number is (877) 824-7038. If you’re outside of Texas, please use (512) 463-1252 to contact the LRL hotline.
Additionally, we’re happy to field your questions about the legislative session! Find us on chat, send us an e-mail, or leave a voicemail through our Ask a Librarian service.