Texas Legislative Process
Texas and over 20 other states in the U.S. cannot collect signatures to place an issue on the ballot for a vote to change state law. Additionally, in 1997, Texas passed a state law requiring that all drug laws be enforced and changed at the state rather than local level. Because of these limitations, Texans must rely on our state elected officials, specifically our state representatives and state senators.
The Texas House of Representatives and Senate meet every two years for approximately 140 days.
It is an intense process, over 10,000 bills are filed on average per legislative session. Each bill must first be introduced by a House and/or Senate Member with as many co‐sponsors as possible. Next, the bill will be assigned to a committee based on the code of law it would modify. The committee may hold a hearing with public testimony and vote to move the bill forward to the Calendars Committee (in the House) or the Senate Administration Committee (in the Senate), who may then schedule the bill for a debate by the full House and/or Senate members, with the goal of reaching a favorable vote by a majority of the legislators in the chamber it was filed in. That process must happen in both the House and Senate before it moves on to the lieutenant governor and then governor’s desk to be signed, enacted by default or vetoed.
Getting Involved with Your Legislators
How to Start the Conversation
Because of these limitations, Texans must rely on our state elected officials, specifically our state representatives and state senators. This is why it is important to know where your Legislator stands on the issue.
To do this, you must first know who your state legislators are. You can find them by using THIS LINK.
Then you will want to use the Senate and House of Representative pages to learn more about your specific legislator and their interests. You can even use My Texas Legislature Online to learn about bills they have filed. Once you are more familiar with them, you can start to tailor what you are interested in discussing with them and gather resources.
Now you are ready to call their office and make an appointment to meet with their staff. They will ask what you’d like to discuss and for your complete contact information. Be prepared with this information.