Looking forward to the future of journalism

How to track a bill in the Texas Legislature

The Legislative session in Texas officially starts today, which means lawmakers will be filing thousands of bills dealing with topics ranging from the trivial to the profound.

This year, bills have been filed that prohibit human cloning; expand the definition of college hazing; and encourage more “green” jobs in Texas, just to name a few topics.

Schoolhouse rockYou can find and track bills at the Legislature’s excellent web site. It allows you to look up proposed legislation by entering a bill number or keyword search. As the bills endure their rite of passage like salmon swimming upstream, you can find out which legislative committee the bills are sent to, and watch the actual committee hearings where supporters and critics testify.

You can also look up bills by author and sponsor, which is what Reporter Greg Jefferson did when he wrote a good profile last Sunday of state Sen. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who was elected speaker of the House today.