Reading Statutes and Bills

Statute Collections

Current Texas statutes can be found in at least one of three collections:

  • Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes

  • A 1925 revision of Texas statutes organized the statutes into a unified body of law in which each statute was titled and assigned a sequential article number that corresponded with its alphabetized title. This organization was published in a series of volumes known as Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes.

    Subsequent additions to the law were incorporated into the 1925 organization, and to maintain the integrity of the statutes' numerical and alphabetical arrangement, the publisher often added letters to the end of article designations for new laws relating to the same subject matter. Eventually the reference system became confusing.

  • Codes

  • In 1963 the legislature charged the Texas Legislative Council with conducting an ongoing nonsubstantive revision of the 1925 statutes. Under the revision program, the statutes are arranged into topical codes and numbered using a system that accommodates future expansion of the law. Repealed, invalid, and duplicative provisions are eliminated.

    Most Texas statutes today are found in the resulting 27 topical codes. The few 1925 statutes that have not been incorporated into a code may still be found in Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes.

  • Session Laws

  • Session laws are the compilation of the laws enacted during a particular legislative session. Bills that are passed during each legislative session and not vetoed by the governor are assigned a session law chapter number by the secretary of state. The number corresponds with the order in which the enacted bill is filed with the secretary of state and is often used to identify a specific bill from a specific session: for example, Chapter 981 (H.B. 1125), Acts of the 74th Legislature, Regular Session, 1995. Bills from each legislative session are compiled in order of chapter number and published as the General and Special Laws for that session.

    Most bills amend the topical codes or Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes. Some bills, however, enact new law without reference to a civil statute or code section and can be found in the session laws.

Internal Organization

Most codes are organized using a standard scheme based on sections. Gaps in chapter and section numbering usually exist for future expansion.





Sec. 1.01 HEADING. (section)

(a) (subsection)

(1) (subdivision)

(A) (paragraph)

(i) (subparagraph)

(a) (sub-subparagraph)

Some codes, such as the Code of Criminal Procedure, use articles instead of sections.



Art. 1.01 HEADING. (article)

(a) (subsection)

(1) (subdivision)

The uncodified statutes found in Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes are less consistently structured but follow organizational schemes similar to these.