How does Legislation in Texas work?
What is the Texas Legislature?
The Texas Legislature is bicameral (a legislative body having two branches or chambers), includes 150 members of the House of Representatives and 31 members of the State Senate. Members of the House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms and represent districts of approximately 113,000 people each. Senators serve four-year terms and approximately 550,000 people each.
- The House of Representatives is presided over by the Speaker of the House, elected by the Representatives.
- The Lieutenant Governor, presides over the Senate, elected by the people.
The governor has veto power over bills passed by the legislature, as well as line-item veto power over the budget. Additionally, the governor can call short, special sessions of the legislature to address specific issues in an agenda that the executive sets.
2022 Election Results
Every seat in the 31-member Texas Senate is on the ballot because the districts were redrawn last year.
For the last two years, the balance of power in the Texas Senate has looked like this: 13 Democrats / 18 Republicans
2023: 12 Democrats / 19 Republicans
Texas House of Representatives
There are 150 members of the Texas House. Each state representative serves a two-year term. This election takes place under a new map drawn by legislators.
For the last two years, the balance of power in the Texas House has looked like this: 65 Democrats / 85 Republicans
2023: 64 Democrats / 86 Republicans
How often does the Legislature meet?
Unique as a part-time legislature, both the Senate and House of the Texas Legislature meet every other odd-numbered year. A regular session is 140 days in length, beginning on the second Tuesday in January. A special session can last no more than 30 days and is called by the governor to address specific issues. Meetings determine what bills will become law to help citizens better face new issues that continually arise.
Important Dates in Texas Legislature:
2023 88th Legislative Session:
January 10, 2023: Regular Session began
March 10, 2023: Deadline for the unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions
May 29, 2023: SINE DIE, (the 140th day of session) also known as the final day of the Regular Session
2025 89th Legislative Session:
January 14, 2025: Regular Session begins
June 2, 2025: SINE DIE, (the 140th day of session) also known as the final day of the Regular Session
Stay tuned for more details as we prepare for the 2025 Legislative session!
Quick Facts about Texas Legislature
Texas Legislature convenes every other year in odd-numbered years. (For example: 2019, 2021, 2023)
Texas Legislative Session is 140 days in duration (20 weeks). In reality, this is typically only about 95+/- "work days".
In Texas, the Governor has 20 days after Sine Die (the last day of the regular session) to approve or veto bills.
During the 2021 87th Texas Legislature:
How does a bill become law in Texas?
Each bill starts off as either a House bill or a Senate bill, sometimes even both (to increase the chances of getting a bill passed).
A bill must go through several phases in order to move on to the other house for further consideration, those phases are introduction, committee action, and floor action.
Once a bill has passed through all three actions in both the House and the Senate, the bill is passed to the enrollment phase i.e. sent to The Governor’s Desk to be signed and become law or vetoed.
Ensure your representative understands the value, impact, and humane treatment of animals in your community as well as their legislative districts. Knowing who represents you is a vital step to communicating this message.