Dateline Austin Exclusive: Overview of the Texas Legislature

By TLTA Staff
Jan. 10, 2017

The Texas Legislature begins its 85th session today, and this session has the potential to impact our industry more than ever before. That’s why TLTA has put together the following overview of the legislative process: to give you the information you need to follow bills, as well as a quick but thorough refresher on how the entire process operates.

As you already know from our Breaking News correspondence, one bill was filed in December that would radically disrupt our industry: SB 372 by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood). This bill would dramatically alter the way our Texas title insurance system functions and negatively impact Texas homebuyers. TLTA will be keeping you up-to-date on this bill and any others related to title insurance that arise during the session. You can get talking points or additional information on our industry to use during the session in the Texas Title Insurance Works Toolbox.

Texas Legislature Overview

Number of members in each chamber: There are 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives and 31 members of the Senate. House members serve two-year terms, while Senate members have four-year terms.

 Party  House  Senate   Overall
 Democrats  55  11  66 
 Republicans  95   20   115 
 Total  150  31  181

There are 28 new legislators being sworn in today.

It's important to understand how a bill becomes a law: There are many steps involved for a bill to make the journey from filing to the Governor's desk – it's not an easy process! There are four major stages that a bill must pass through before becoming a law: introduction, committee action, floor action and enrollment. At any one of these stages, a bill could be debated, amended, passed or killed. Here are three great resources that explain this in more detail:

Want to stay on top of things? Here's how you can follow a bill:

Go to the Texas Legislature Online. In the center of the page, near the top, is an option titled “Search Legislation.” Type in what you’re looking for (make sure it includes SB or HB), set the drop-down menu under “Legislature” to “85 (R) – 2017” and hit “Go.”