Reading Statutes and Bills

Parts of a Statute

Statutes vary in their internal structure and may include some or all of the following parts:

  • Short Title

    A short title is neither required nor appropriate for most statutory provisions but is sometimes included to provide a convenient way of citing a major, cohesive body of law that deals comprehensively with a subject.

    Sec. 58.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Texas Agricultural Finance Act.

  • Statement of Policy or Purpose

    A statement of policy or purpose is neither required nor appropriate for most statutory provisions but may be included when a substantial body of new law is enacted.

    Sec. 773.201. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. The legislature finds that a strong system for stroke survival is needed in the state's communities in order to treat stroke victims in a timely manner and to improve the overall treatment of stroke victims. Therefore, the legislature intends to construct an emergency treatment system in this state so that stroke victims may be quickly identified and transported to and treated in appropriate stroke treatment facilities.

  • Definitions

    A statute may include an entire section dedicated to definitions of terms that apply to a code, a title, a chapter, or a subchapter. Alternatively, it may include a subsection defining terms that apply only to that statutory section.

  • Principal Operative Provisions

    This broad category includes both administrative provisions, which relate to the creation, organization, powers, and procedures of the governmental units that enforce the law, and substantive provisions, which grant or impose on a class of persons rights, duties, powers, and privileges and may govern conduct by establishing either a mandate or a prohibition.

  • Enforcement Provisions

    An enforcement provision generally establishes a criminal penalty, a civil penalty, an administrative penalty, injunctive relief, or civil liability as a consequence of violating a mandate or a prohibition.