Texas Legislative Council

Texas Legislative Glossary



A

Absolute Majority

See MAJORITY.

Act

A bill enacted by the Texas Legislature. A bill that has been enacted by both chambers of the legislature and presented to the governor becomes law if it is signed by the governor, if it is not signed by the governor within a specified period, or if the governor vetoes the bill and the veto is overridden by a two-thirds vote in each chamber. See also ENACTMENT.

Action

General term used to refer to an individual step that a measure undergoes as it moves through the legislative process.

Floor Action—An action taken by a chamber on a bill or resolution reported by a committee.

Last Action—The most recent step a measure has undergone in the legislative process.

Adjournment

The termination of a meeting or hearing. With regard to a meeting of the house or senate as a whole, adjournment occurs at the close of each legislative day on completion of business and after setting the hour and day of the next meeting. See also RECESS and SINE DIE.

Adjournment Sine Die

See SINE DIE.

Adoption

The approval or acceptance of a measure, usually applied to amendments or resolutions.

Advice and Consent

The procedure by which the senate gives approval to appointments made by the governor.

Amendment

Any proposed alteration to a bill or resolution as it moves through the legislative process. Amendments to a measure may be proposed by members of a committee during that committee's consideration of the measure (committee amendment) or by any member of a chamber during that chamber’s second or third reading consideration of the measure (floor amendment). See also CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Amendments Analysis, House or Senate

A two-column side-by-side comparison highlighting the differences between the final house and senate versions of a bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers. House rules provide for the preparation and distribution of senate amendments analyses for house bills that are passed by the senate. House amendments analyses are prepared and distributed for senate bills that are passed by the house even though such analyses are not required by house or senate rules.

Apportionment

The distribution of representation in a legislative body, especially the allocation of congressional representatives among the states based on population.

Appropriation

An authorization by the legislature for the expenditure of money for a public purpose. In most instances, money cannot be withdrawn from the state treasury except through a specific appropriation made in the General Appropriations Act or a supplemental appropriations bill.

As Filed

Used to refer to the text of a bill or resolution as it appeared when first introduced in the originating chamber. See also FILED and INTRODUCED.

Author

The legislator who files a bill or resolution and guides it through the legislative process in that legislator's chamber (also called the primary author). See also SPONSOR.

Coauthor—A legislator authorized by the primary author of a bill or resolution to join in the authorship of the measure. A coauthor must be a member of the chamber in which the bill was filed.

Joint Author—In the house of representatives, a member authorized by the primary author of a bill or resolution to join in the authorship of the measure. Up to four joint authors may be designated per measure.


B  [back to top]

Bicameral

Used to refer to a legislature consisting of two chambers, such as a house of representatives and a senate.

Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE)

A statement prepared by the comptroller of public accounts showing the financial condition of the state treasury at the close of the last fiscal period, an estimate of the probable receipts and disbursements for the current fiscal year, and an itemized estimate of the anticipated revenue to be received by the state during the succeeding biennium. The Texas Constitution requires the BRE to be submitted to the governor and to the legislature upon its convening of each regular session. See also CERTIFICATION REVENUE ESTIMATE (CRE).

Biennium

A two-year period for which general state appropriations are made for the State of Texas. The state biennium runs from September 1 of an odd-numbered year through August 31 of the next odd-numbered year.

Bill

A type of legislative measure that is the primary means used to create and change the laws of the state. A bill becomes law on its effective date if it is passed by both chambers of the legislature and is not vetoed by the governor. The term “bill” is also used generically in TLIS on the Capitol Complex intranet and in TLO on the Internet to refer to the various types of legislative measures that may be introduced during a legislative session. On these sites and in some other general uses of the term, "bill" types include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. See also RESOLUTION.

Bracket Bill—A bill intended to apply only to a particular class of political subdivisions or geographic areas described by characteristics that relate to the purpose of the bill.

Companion Bill—A bill filed in one chamber that is identical or very similar to a bill filed in the opposite chamber. Companion bills are used to expedite passage, as they provide a means for committee consideration of a measure to occur in both chambers simultaneously. A companion bill that has passed one chamber can then be substituted for the companion bill in the opposite chamber.

Duplicate Bill—A bill that is identical to another bill filed in the same chamber.

Local Bill—A bill to enact a law that applies only to a discrete community or area rather than to the entire state.

Omnibus Bill—A bill relating to a broad subject that combines many different aspects of that subject.

Bill Analysis

A document prepared for bills and joint resolutions reported out of committee that includes a description of the content of the measure and other required information.

Bill Number

A unique number assigned to each filed bill. A bill’s number remains the same throughout the legislative process in a given session. Similarly applicable to resolutions.

Bracket Bill

See BILL.

Budget Board

See LEGISLATIVE BUDGET BOARD.

Budget Execution

The authority granted to the governor and the Legislative Budget Board to shift state funds between agencies or agency programs within the adopted budget.

Business Day

See DAY.


C  [back to top]

Calendar

A calendar, or group of calendars, sets the legislative business for a chamber for a particular day.

HOUSE

Committee on Calendars, House—A committee in the house of representatives responsible for the scheduling of bills and resolutions for hearing by the full house.

Committee on Local and Consent Calendars, House—A committee in the house of representatives responsible for the scheduling of local, consent, and resolutions calendars.

Daily House Calendar—The daily agenda of legislative business before the full house.

House Calendars—The legislative business of the house is controlled by a system of calendars as follows:

(1) Emergency Calendar—Bills considered to be of such pressing and imperative import as to demand immediate action, bills to raise revenue and levy taxes, and the general appropriations bill.

(2) Major State Calendar—Bills of statewide effect, not emergency in nature, which establish or change state policy in a major field of governmental activity and which will have a major impact in application throughout the state without regard to class, area, or other limiting factors.

(3) Constitutional Amendments Calendar—Joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution, joint resolutions proposing the ratification of amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and joint resolutions applying to Congress for a convention to amend the Constitution of the United States.

(4) General State Calendar—Bills of statewide effect, not emergency in nature, which establish or change state law and which have application to all areas but are limited in legal effect by classification or other factors which minimize the impact to something less than major state policy, and bills, not emergency in nature, which are not on the local, consent, and resolutions calendar.

(5) Local, Consent, and Resolutions Calendar—Bills, house resolutions, and concurrent resolutions, not emergency in nature, regardless of extent and scope, on which there is such general agreement as to render improbable any opposition to the consideration and passage thereof, and which have been recommended by the appropriate standing committee for placement on the local, consent, and resolutions calendar by the Committee on Local and Consent Calendars.

(6) Resolutions Calendar—House resolutions and concurrent resolutions, not emergency in nature and not privileged.

(7) Congratulatory and Memorial Resolutions Calendar—Congratulatory and memorial resolutions whose sole intent is to congratulate, memorialize, or otherwise express concern or commendation.

List of Items Eligible for Consideration—A list prepared by the chief clerk of the house on request of the speaker when the volume of legislation warrants (normally during the last few weeks of a regular session) containing the following: (1) house bills with senate amendments eligible to be considered, (2) senate bills for which the senate has requested the appointment of a conference committee, and (3) conference committee reports eligible to be considered.

Supplemental House Calendar—A supplement to the daily house calendar that contains: (1) bills or resolutions that were passed to third reading on the previous legislative day, (2) bills or resolutions that appeared on the Daily House Calendar for a previous calendar day that were not reached for floor consideration, (3) postponed business from a previous calendar day, and (4) notice to take from the table a bill or resolution that was laid on the table subject to call on a previous legislative day.

SENATE

Blocker Bill—A bill that is quickly passed out of a senate committee at the beginning of a regular session but that the senate has no intention of immediately addressing. Since the senate rules require the senate to take up bills in the order they were reported from the committees, the blocker bill is used so that bills may only be taken up through a suspension of the regular order of business by a vote of three-fifths of the members present.

Intent Calendar—A calendar that lists the bills and resolutions for which senators have given notice to the secretary of the senate of their intent to bring the measure up for consideration out of its regular order.

Local and Uncontested Calendar—A calendar scheduled by the Senate Committee on Administration that lists local and uncontested bills and resolutions for consideration by the full senate.

Regular Order of Business—A listing of all bills and resolutions that have been reported from committee and are eligible for second reading consideration in the senate. Measures are listed in the order in which they were reported.

Senate Agenda—The document prepared daily for the senators and the public that contains the following information: (1) the Intent Calendar; (2) a list of senate bills returned from the house with amendments; (3) the status of bills in conference committees; (4) the Local and Uncontested Calendar; (5) gubernatorial appointments reported favorably from the Senate Committee on Nominations and awaiting confirmation by the senate; (6) committee hearings scheduled, with a list of measures to be considered by the committees; (7) the regular order of business, listing bills and resolutions that have been reported favorably from committee; (8) miscellaneous announcements; (9) senate floor action from the previous legislative day; (10) senate committee action from the previous day; and (11) morning call items of business.

Calendar Day

See DAY.

Call of the Senate; Call of the House

A motion used to compel the attendance of legislators who are absent from the chamber and to compel those members already in attendance to remain in the chamber.

Called Session

See SESSION.

CapCentral

An application that allows quick access to daily calendar, committee, and bill information, as well as LMS bill track and analyst comments and CMS statistics. (Capitol Complex intranet only)

Caption

A statement that gives the legislature and the public reasonable notice of the subject of a bill or resolution. For bills and joint resolutions, the caption is included at the beginning of the measure's text and briefly summarizes the contents of the bill or resolution. For other types of resolutions, the caption consists of a brief description of the contents of the resolution.

Capweb: Inside the Texas Legislature

The home page for the legislative community, providing links to sources of legislative information. (Capitol Complex intranet only)

Caucus

A closed meeting of a group of members with shared interests or background within a legislative body.

Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE)

A document produced by the comptroller of public accounts certifying that the funds appropriated in the General Appropriations Act and other appropriations bills are less than or equal to the estimated available amount. The CRE helps fulfill the requirement in the Texas Constitution that the state not spend more money than it has. See also BIENNIAL REVENUE ESTIMATE (BRE).

Chair

A legislator appointed to preside over a legislative committee. The speaker of the house appoints chairs of house committees and the lieutenant governor appoints chairs of senate committees.

Chamber

The place in which the senate or house of representatives meets; also, a generic way to refer to the senate or house of representatives. The house of representatives is considered the lower chamber while the senate is considered the upper chamber.

Chamber Employees and Officers

Each chamber employs positions as set out in the rules of the respective chamber.

House—The house rules provide for the following employee and officer positions and detail the duties of each position.

Chaplain—The chaplain opens the first session on each calendar day with a prayer and performs such other duties as directed by the Committee on House Administration.

Chief Clerk—The chief clerical officer of the house of representatives. The chief clerk is the custodian of all bills and resolutions in the possession of the house and is responsible for keeping a complete record of their introduction and all subsequent house actions taken on them throughout the legislative process.

Committee Coordinator—The committee coordinator prepares a schedule each regular session for regular meetings of all standing committees, posts committee meeting notices, and performs other related administrative and recordkeeping tasks.

Doorkeeper—The doorkeeper enforces the rules of the house relating to privileges of the house floor.

Journal Clerk—The journal clerk is responsible for keeping a journal of the proceedings of the house.

Parliamentarian—An officer of the house who serves at the pleasure of the speaker and advises and assists the speaker and members of the house on matters of procedure.

Reading Clerks—The reading clerks are responsible for calling the roll of the house and reading, before the house, bills, resolutions, motions, and other matters.

Sergeant-at-Arms—An officer of the house charged with maintaining order and carrying out the directives of the speaker and house members.

Voting Clerk—The voting clerk records house votes and prepares official copies of all record votes for the house journal.

Senate—Senate rules provide for a secretary, journal clerk, calendar clerk, enrolling clerk, sergeant-at-arms, doorkeeper, chaplain, and such other officers as may be necessary.

Chubbing

The practice of one or more members of the legislature debating bills at great length to slow down the legislative process. See also FILIBUSTER.

Coauthor

See AUTHOR.

Codified Law

A law that has been assigned a topical code (e.g., Business and Commerce Code or Health and Safety Code).

Committee

Generally, a group of legislators appointed by the presiding officer of the house or the senate to which proposed legislation is referred or a specific task is assigned.

Committee of the Whole—Either chamber of the legislature sitting in its entirety as a committee.

Conference Committee—A committee composed of five members from each chamber appointed by the respective presiding officers to resolve the differences between the house and senate versions of a measure when the originating chamber refuses to concur in the changes made by the opposite chamber.

Interim Committee—A group of legislators appointed by the presiding officer of the house or senate to study a particular issue or group of issues during the interim for the purpose of reporting findings and making recommendations to the next legislature.

Joint Committee—A committee composed of members appointed from both chambers of the legislature that is tasked with addressing a certain issue or set of issues.

Standing Committee—A permanent committee established in the rules of either chamber that specializes in a particular subject area.

Subcommittee—A subset of a committee assigned to handle more specific legislation or tasks within the committee's jurisdiction.

Committee of the Whole

See COMMITTEE.

Committee Report

See REPORT.

Committee Substitute

A complete replacement for a bill or resolution that is recommended by a committee in lieu of the bill or resolution that was originally referred to the committee for consideration. The original measure and the committee substitute must share the same subject matter.

Companion Bill

See BILL.

Concurrence

A motion in the originating chamber to accept the amendments made to a bill or resolution by the opposite chamber.

Concurrent Resolution

See RESOLUTION.

Conference Committee

See COMMITTEE.

Conference Committee Report

See REPORT.

Constituent

A citizen residing in the district of an elected official.

Constitutional Amendment

A change to the state constitution. A constitutional amendment is proposed by the legislature in the form of a joint resolution that must be adopted by a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature and then be approved as a ballot proposition by a majority of Texas voters to become effective. See also AMENDMENT and, under RESOLUTION, JOINT RESOLUTION.

Convene

To assemble or call to order the members of a legislative body.

Cosponsor

See SPONSOR.

Council Document Number

The unique number assigned to a draft of a bill or resolution prepared by the Texas Legislative Council. This number appears in the lower left corner of the document.


D  [back to top]

Daily Floor Report

A collection of analyses prepared by the House Research Organization for the bills and joint resolutions scheduled for floor debate on the daily house calendar during a particular legislative day, consisting of a digest of each measure's provisions as well as background information, arguments for and against the measure, and additional pertinent information.

Day

A period of time that may be defined for different purposes. Generally thought of as a 24-hour period.

Business Day—A day that most professional institutions are open for business, usually Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays.

Calendar Day—A day of the year, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Legislative Day—The period between the convening and adjournment of the legislature. The house or the senate may convene for a daily session in the morning, recess for lunch, and adjourn that same evening, completing a legislative day on the same calendar day. However, if a chamber recesses at the end of the day, that particular legislative day continues into the next calendar day or days until the chamber adjourns.

Declared an Emergency

See EMERGENCY MATTERS.

District

The geographic region represented by a member of the legislature. See also SPECIAL DISTRICT.

DistrictViewer

An application that displays interactive maps and demographic and election reports for current Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, State Board of Education, and Texas congressional districts, as well as selected redistricting proposals.

Division of a Question

A procedure used to separate a motion into two or more distinct propositions to be voted on independently.

Duplicate Bill

See BILL.


E  [back to top]

Effective Date

The date a bill, if passed into law, takes effect. A bill's effective date is usually specified in the bill itself, but if one is not specified the bill takes effect on the 91st day after the adjournment of the session in which it was enacted. A bill may have multiple effective dates for different sections of the bill.

Emergency Matters

Subjects designated by and submitted to the legislature in special messages from the governor. Legislation relating to emergency matters is not subject to house and senate rules imposing deadlines on introduction and may be filed and considered at any time during the legislative session.

Enabling Legislation

Legislation that provides details describing how a joint resolution would be implemented if the resolution were adopted by voters. Enabling legislation may be passed during the legislative session in which the related joint resolution is considered or during a session after a constitutional amendment is adopted. The term is also used to refer to legislation creating new agencies, programs, or special districts.

Enacting Clause

A clause prescribed by the Texas Constitution that is included between the caption and body of each bill in the legislative process and reads as follows: “BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:”.

Enactment

A bill that has been passed in identical form by both chambers of the legislature, regardless of final gubernatorial action on the bill. See also ACT.

Engrossment

The stage in the legislative progress of a bill or resolution when the measure has been passed by the chamber in which it was filed and all amendments to the measure have been incorporated into the text of the measure, which is then forwarded to the opposite chamber for consideration.

Enrollment

The stage in the legislative progress of a bill or resolution when the measure has been passed by both chambers of the legislature in identical form and has been prepared for signature by the presiding officers of both chambers.

Ex Officio

Used to refer to a member of a governmental body who holds his or her position in that body as the result of holding another governmental position.


F  [back to top]

Filed

Used to refer to a bill or resolution that has been introduced into the legislative process and given a number. See also AS FILED and INTRODUCED.

Filibuster

The prolonged discussion of a bill or resolution to delay legislative action. Filibusters are permitted in the senate but not in the house. See also CHUBBING.

Filing Deadline

The last date on which bills and joint resolutions other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the governor may be introduced into the legislative process without rules suspension. The deadline is the 60th calendar day of a regular session.

First Reading

See READING.

Fiscal Note

A written estimate prepared by the Legislative Budget Board of the costs, savings, revenue gain, or revenue loss that may result from implementation of requirements in a bill or joint resolution. See also IMPACT STATEMENT.

Fiscal Year (FY)

A 12-month period at the end of which financial accounts are reconciled. The fiscal year for state agencies in Texas begins on September 1 of each calendar year and ends on August 31 of the following year.

Floor

A term traditionally used for the meeting place of either chamber for the conduct of legislative debate and business.

Floor Action

See ACTION.

Formal Meeting

See HEARING/MEETING.


G  [back to top]

General Appropriations Act

An act, as passed by the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives and acted on by the governor, that provides for the biennial state budget.

Germane

Relevant. House and senate rules require amendments and committee substitutes to be germane to the original bill or resolution.

Guide to Texas Legislative Council Services

A resource that provides instructions for obtaining the services and products of the Texas Legislative Council. (Capitol Complex intranet only)


H  [back to top]

Hearing/Meeting

An official gathering of a group of legislators to conduct legislative business. Senate rules do not elaborate on the different types of hearings or meetings, whereas house rules prescribe the following types of hearings and meetings for a committee or subcommittee:

Formal Meeting—A meeting where the committee or subcommittee may discuss and take official action on bills, resolutions, or other matters without testimony.

Public Hearing—A meeting where testimony is to be heard, and where official action may be taken, on bills, resolutions, or other matters.

Work Session—A session where a committee or subcommittee may discuss bills, resolutions, or other matters but may not take formal action.

House Amendments Analysis

See AMENDMENTS ANALYSIS, HOUSE OR SENATE.

House of Representatives

The lower chamber of the Texas Legislature, consisting of 150 members, all of whom are elected every two years for two-year terms from districts of roughly equal population.

House Research Organization (HRO)

A nonpartisan department of the Texas House of Representatives that provides impartial information on legislation and issues before the Texas Legislature.


I  [back to top]

Impact Statement

A document prepared by the Legislative Budget Board that accompanies a legislative measure and estimates the impact of the measure on certain aspects of the state. See also FISCAL NOTE.

Actuarial Impact Statement—For a bill or joint resolution that proposes to change benefits or participation in benefits of a public retirement system or to change the financial obligations of such a system.

Criminal Justice Policy Impact Statement—For a bill or resolution that authorizes or requires a change in the sanctions applicable to felony or certain misdemeanor crimes.

Dynamic Economic Impact Statement—For the general appropriations bill, specifically including the number of state employees to be affected and the estimated impact on employment by the private sector and local governments in Texas as a result of any change in state expenditures made by the bill as compared to the biennium preceding the biennium to which the bill applies.

Equalized Education Funding Impact Statement—For a bill or joint resolution that authorizes or requires a change in the public school finance system.

Higher Education Impact Statement—For a bill or joint resolution that authorizes or requires a change in the classification, mission, or governance structure of an institution of higher education or that establishes such an institution.

Open Government Impact Statement—For a bill or joint resolution that expressly or impliedly amends the open records law, the open meetings law, or other law in a manner that may reduce public access to government information or to the transaction of public business.

Tax Equity Note—For a bill or joint resolution that creates or impacts a state tax or fee. The note estimates the general effects of the bill or resolution on the distribution of tax and fee burdens among individuals and businesses.

Water Development Policy Impact Statement—For a bill or joint resolution that proposes to create a water district.

Index to Sections Affected

An application provided by the Legislative Reference Library of Texas that allows a user to determine whether a statute section has been or will be affected by a bill or if a bill has affected or will affect a statute section.

Interim

The period between regular legislative sessions.

Interim Charge

A directive to study a certain issue during the interim that is issued by the lieutenant governor to a senate committee or by the speaker of the house to a house committee. See also INTERIM REPORT.

Interim Committee

See COMMITTEE.

Interim Report

A report issued by a committee detailing the committee's findings and recommendations after study of its interim charges. See also INTERIM CHARGE.

Introduced

Used to refer to the version of a bill or resolution as it was originally filed in the house or senate. See also AS FILED and FILED.


J  [back to top]

Joint Author

See AUTHOR.

Joint Committee

See COMMITTEE.

Joint Resolution

See RESOLUTION.

Joint Session

See SESSION.

Joint Sponsor

See SPONSOR.

Journal

The official publication that records the legislative proceedings of a chamber, including record vote information.


K  [back to top]

NO ENTRIES

.


L  [back to top]

Last Action

See ACTION.

Lege Council or Legislative Council

See TEXAS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.

Legislation

A proposed or enacted law or group of laws.

Legislative Archive System

An application that provides electronic access to bill files from the collections of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and also provides related information and links.

Legislative Budget Board (LBB)

A permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations, completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation, and conducts evaluations and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations.

Legislative Day

See DAY

Legislative Intent

The purpose for which a measure is passed.

Legislative Reference Library (LRL)

A library housed in the State Capitol that supports the reference and research needs of Texas legislators, their staffs, and legislative committees. When possible, the LRL also assists the public and other state agencies with legislative research.

Legislative Session

See SESSION.

Legislature

The lawmaking body of the State of Texas, which consists of two chambers: the house of representatives and the senate.

Lexis Advance

A robust third-party application that enables users to access and search information stored in multiple legal databases. (Capitol Complex intranet only)

Lieutenant Governor

The presiding officer of the Texas Senate, otherwise known as the president of the senate. A member of the executive branch, the lieutenant governor is elected statewide to a four-year term.

Line Item

An element of spending authority granted to an agency or institution in an appropriations bill; literally, an appropriation that appears on a separate line in a budget bill. See also LINE ITEM VETO under VETO.

Local Bill

See BILL.

Lower Chamber

See CHAMBER.


M  [back to top]

Majority

Generally, a number of members that is greater than half of the membership of a chamber or committee and that has the power to make decisions binding on the whole. Different actions require different types of majority.

Absolute Majority—More than half of those members entitled to vote, whether present or absent.

Simple Majority—More than half of those members present and voting.

Super Majority—A fixed threshold greater than half of the members, such as the two-thirds threshold required for passage of a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Texas Constitution.

Measure

A general term for a bill or resolution.

Meeting

See HEARING/MEETING.

Minority Report

See REPORT.

Minutes

A document prepared after each committee hearing that contains the order of committee business and lists the committee members present at the hearing and the votes taken on legislation. The minutes are not a transcript and do not summarize testimony, but a list of witnesses testifying for, against, or on legislation is attached to the minutes.

Motion

A formal statement presented in committee or on the floor to a legislative body for action while the body is meeting.


N  [back to top]

Nonpartisan

A term used to refer to an effort or entity free from party affiliation or designation.


O  [back to top]

Omnibus Bill

See BILL.

Override

See VETO OVERRIDE.


P  [back to top]

Pairing

An option for floor voting whereby two members with opposite views on a matter make an agreement when one member will be present for a vote and the other will be absent. The members agree that the present member will not vote but will be considered present and not voting, allowing the absent member's intended vote to effectively cancel out the present member's opposing vote. This option allows for the journal to reflect how each member would have voted.

Parliamentarian

An officer of the house or senate who provides the presiding officer and all other members with guidance on the parliamentary rules of their respective chamber. See also CHAMBER EMPLOYEES AND OFFICERS.

Parliamentary Inquiry

A question posed by a legislator to the presiding officer of the chamber for clarification of the procedure or business before the legislative body.

Partisan

A term used to refer to an effort or entity related to a party affiliation or designation.

Passage

The approval of a measure by the full body of the house or senate.

Personal Privilege Speech

A statement by a legislator that is not directly related to pending legislative business.

Point of Order

A motion calling attention to a possible breach of the procedural rules of the house or the senate.

Prefiling

The filing of bills and resolutions before the convening of a legislative session.

President of the Senate

See LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR.

President Pro Tempore (Pro Tem)

A member of the senate elected by the other members to act as president of the senate in any case of absence or disability of the lieutenant governor.

Presiding Officer

The officer who presides over a deliberative assembly. The speaker of the house is the presiding officer of the Texas House of Representatives, and the lieutenant governor of Texas is the presiding officer of the Texas Senate.

Privilege of the Floor

The right to view the proceedings of the legislature from the floor of the chamber rather than from the public gallery.

Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

See PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE and SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE.

Public Hearing

See HEARING/MEETING.


Q  [back to top]

Quorum

The number of members required to conduct legislative business. Two-thirds of the elected members constitutes a quorum in each chamber. A majority of the appointed members of a committee forms a quorum for the purpose of conducting committee business.


R  [back to top]

Reading

The presentation of a bill before a chamber. A bill has a first reading when it is referred to committee; a second reading when it has been reported from committee and is presented to the full chamber for debate, amendment, and approval; and a third reading when it is again presented to the full chamber for a final opportunity for debate and amendment by the chamber and the chamber's final approval. Joint resolutions have the same readings as a bill but may not need a third reading in the house.

Reapportionment

The redistribution of representation in a legislative body, especially the periodic reallotment of congressional seats according to changes in the census figures.

Recess

A temporary suspension of a meeting. Recesses are called for short breaks (e.g., for lunch or dinner) or occasionally at the close of a daily session to allow the legislative day to continue into the next calendar day. See also ADJOURNMENT.

Reconsideration

A process by which the house, the senate, or a committee may repeat the vote on an action to either annul or reaffirm the original vote.

Record Vote

See VOTE.

Redistricting

The redrawing of electoral districts. The term is usually used in Texas to refer to the redrawing of the state's congressional, state representative, state senator, and State Board of Education electoral districts every 10 years following the publication of the U.S. Census to maintain approximately equal populations across those respective districts.

Refer

To send a bill to a committee for consideration. The Texas Constitution prohibits a bill from being considered on the floor unless it has first been referred to and considered by a committee.

Regular Session

See SESSION.

Repealer

A provision in a bill or joint resolution revoking previously enacted legislation.

Report

Very generally, a formal communication.

Committee Report—A document consisting of the text of a bill or resolution and its required attachments that is prepared when the measure is reported from a committee for further consideration by the members of the full chamber. The committee report includes the committee's recommendations regarding action on the measure by the chamber and typically must be completed before a measure can proceed through the legislative process.

Conference Committee Report—A report issued to both chambers of the legislature by the members of a conference committee appointed to resolve the differences between the house and senate versions of a bill or joint resolution. The report includes the final text of the measure as agreed upon by the conference committee members and a three-column side-by-side analysis that compares the house, senate, and conference committee versions of the measure. Each chamber votes to accept or reject the conference committee report as is, without further amendment. See also CONFERENCE COMMITTEE under COMMITTEE and SIDE-BY-SIDE ANALYSIS.

Minority Report—A committee report issued by one or more members of a committee that disagree with the report adopted by the majority of the committee.

Resolution

A type of legislative measure. See also BILL.

Concurrent Resolution—A type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers and generally requires action by the governor. A concurrent resolution may be used to convey the sentiment of the legislature or offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or a request for action by another governmental entity.

Joint Resolution—A type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature but does not require action by the governor. A joint resolution is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas. See also CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Simple Resolution—A type of legislative measure that is considered only within the chamber in which it is filed. A simple resolution may be used to offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, or the views of that chamber, as well as adopt or change the chamber's rules of procedure.

Resolution Number

See BILL NUMBER.

Revenue Estimate

See BIENNIAL REVENUE ESTIMATE (BRE).

Rider

A legislative directive in the General Appropriations Act relating to the use of an appropriation.

Rules, House or Senate

The rules of procedure for each chamber, respectively adopted at the beginning of each regular legislative session.

Rulemaking Authority

The authority granted by the legislature to a state officer, department, agency, or institution to devise the details of implementation and enforcement of a statute.


S  [back to top]

Second Reading

See READING.

Secretary of the Senate

The chief executive administrator of the senate, who is elected by the senate and responsible for the day-to-day operations of the senate and its departments. See also CHAMBER EMPLOYEES AND OFFICERS.

Senate

The upper chamber of the Texas Legislature, consisting of 31 members serving four-year terms, half of whom are elected every two years from districts of roughly equal population.

Senate Amendments Analysis

See AMENDMENTS ANALYSIS, HOUSE OR SENATE.

Senate Research Center (SRC)

A nonpartisan department of the Texas Senate that provides specialized, objective research and information to the senate and the office of the lieutenant governor.

Session

The convening of the legislature.

Called Session or Special Session—A session of the legislature that may be called by the governor and last no more than 30 days. Only legislation on subjects designated by the governor may be considered in such a session.

Joint Session—A combined meeting of the senate and the house that is held for a specific purpose, such as a special address from the governor.

Regular Session—The regular convening of the legislature every odd-numbered year beginning on the second Tuesday in January. A regular session may last no more than 140 days.

Session Law

A compilation of laws passed in a particular legislative session that is published as the General and Special Laws of the State of Texas. The term is also used to refer to uncodified law not included in Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes.

Side-by-Side Analysis

A document that compares two or more versions of the same bill or joint resolution. See also AMENDMENTS ANALYSIS, HOUSE OR SENATE and, under REPORT, CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORT.

Simple Majority

See MAJORITY.

Simple Resolution

See RESOLUTION.

Sine Die

A Latin term meaning “without day” that is used to signify the final adjournment of a session of a legislative body. The body adjourns sine die when it adjourns without appointing a day on which to appear or assemble again. See also ADJOURNMENT.

Speaker of the House

The presiding officer of the house of representatives elected from and by the membership of the house at the beginning of each regular session.

Speaker Pro Tempore (Pro Tem)

A member of the house of representatives designated by the speaker of the house to perform the duties of the chair in the absence or inability of the speaker.

Special District

A local governmental entity with a defined territory that is created for one or more specific purposes, such as groundwater management or economic development. See also DISTRICT.

Special Session

See SESSION.

Standing Committee

See COMMITTEE.

State Auditor's Office (SAO)

The independent auditor for Texas state government authorized to perform audits, reviews, and investigations of any entity receiving state funds.

Subcommittee

See COMMITTEE.

Sunset

A process by which state agencies are regularly reviewed and either reauthorized or eliminated. See also SUNSET ADVISORY COMMISSION.

Sunset Advisory Commission

A 12-member body of legislators and public members appointed by the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house to review each state agency and recommend fundamental changes to an agency’s mission or operations if needed. Agencies are typically reviewed every 12 years. See also SUNSET.

Super Majority

See MAJORITY.


T  [back to top]

Table

To set aside consideration of a bill, resolution, amendment, or other immediate proposition.

Texas Administrative Code

The compilation of all state agency rules in Texas.

Texas Appointment System (TAS)

An application of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas that provides information on members of state councils, boards, and commissions appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of representatives. (Capitol Complex intranet only)

Texas Budget Source

An application developed by the Legislative Budget Board that generates reports to help inform the general public on the state budget.

Texas Constitution and Statutes (TCAS)

A website that allows users to view the Texas Constitution and state statutes in PDF, HTML, and Microsoft Word formats.

Texas Legislative Council (TLC)

A nonpartisan legislative agency that provides bill and resolution drafting services to the legislature. The council also provides computer support, research, printing, and document distribution services to the legislature and legislative agencies.

Texas Redistricting

A guide to Texas redistricting that provides an overview of the requirements and process to redistrict, news and legislative activity for the current redistricting cycle, and historical information.

Texas Register

The publication that serves as the journal of state agency rulemaking for Texas. Information published in the Texas Register includes proposed, adopted, withdrawn and emergency rule actions, notices of state agency review of agency rules, governor's appointments, attorney general opinions, and miscellaneous documents such as requests for proposals.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

The commission provides services in four main areas: preservation of the archival record of Texas; enhancement of the service capacity of Texas public, academic, and school libraries; assistance to public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities.

Third Reading

See READING.

TLIS (Texas Legislative Information System)

An application that enables users to view and search a wide range of legislative information relating to bills, resolutions, legislators, calendars, reports, and committees. (Capitol Complex intranet only)

TLO (Texas Legislature Online)

An application available to the public that enables users to view and search a wide range of legislative information relating to bills, resolutions, legislators, calendars, reports, and committees.


U  [back to top]

Unexpended Balance (U.B.)

The amount left in an item of appropriation at the end of an appropriation period, excepting any part of the appropriation for which the agency in charge of spending it has made an obligation or commitment. The term also refers to the amount of an appropriation, a fund, or a category of revenue that is brought forward into the succeeding fiscal year.

Upper Chamber

See CHAMBER.


V  [back to top]

Vernon's (Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes or V.T.C.S. and Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated or V.T.C.A.)

The laws of the State of Texas, as updated and printed following each legislative session.

Veto

The authority of the governor to reject an enrolled bill or concurrent resolution.

Line Item Veto—The authority of the governor to veto spending on a line item basis, which allows the governor to veto spending for a particular item without eliminating total state or agency funding. See also LINE ITEM.

Veto Override

The authority of the legislature to pass a bill into law over the governor’s veto, requiring a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber.

Vote

A formal expression of a preference for a proposed resolution of an issue.

Division Vote—Whereby house of representatives members vote via their voting machines.

Record Vote—In which the vote of each individual member of a committee or full chamber on a particular motion or measure is recorded in a committee report or the journal.

Roll-Call Vote—A counted vote in which each member casts their vote aloud in answer to their name via roll call.

Voice Vote—The presiding officer requests the members who are voting in favor of a measure or motion to respond collectively by saying “yea” and those who are voting against the measure or motion to respond collectively by saying “nay.”


W  [back to top]

Who Represents Me?

An application that enables users to identify, for Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives, U.S. House of Representatives, and State Board of Education districts, the elected officials who represent a given location.

Witness

A person who testifies before a legislative committee.

Work Session

See HEARING/MEETING.


X  [back to top]

NO ENTRIES


Y  [back to top]

Yield

To relinquish the floor to allow another member to speak or ask a question.


Z  [back to top]

NO ENTRIES