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How a Bill Becomes a Law

This guide explains how a bill is created, approved, or denied in U.S. and Texas legislation. It includes a glossary, live video, links to films on the legislative process, and sites where bills can be researched.


A bill starts with an idea that can become a new law.

The idea may come from an individual, a group, a legislator, an agency, or the Governor.

It is written, edited, assigned a number, and introduced into The Texas House or Senate.

The Texas legislature meets every two years, during an odd numbered year, but the Governor can call a special session if needed.  During a legislative session, the House or Senate follows a procedure similar to the U.S. process that goes  through three steps:  

1. Committee       

2. Action              

3. Gubernatorial Decision

Unlike the U.S. process, the bill does not travel through both chambers of the House and Senate at the same time. However, it is always passed over to the opposite chamber for study. When both chambers have debated, studied and passed it, the bill is revised in a Conference Committee, and the final version is sent to the Governor, who makes a decision.




A House bill draft is introduced to the House by a representative in the House.

The Speaker reads the bill in order, using its assigned number, and refers it to a committee.

The committee studies the bill, holds hearings and creates a printed report.  The Calendar committee assigns the report to be read on a specific day. It is read, amended, debated and voted on.  After the third reading, a two-thirds vote majority in the House will pass it, and the amended bill then goes to the Senate.



In the Senatethe Lt. Governor reads the bill and assigns it to a committee. A study and a printed report  follows.

The bill is considered on the Senate floor, debated and voted on. After three readings, a two-thirds majority vote passes it in the Senate.  If it has been amended, the bill goes back to the House, who agrees with the changes or not. If they do not agree, they ask for a Conference Committee to discuss differences and come up with a final version for the Governor.  With an agreed upon version, the bill is "enrolled."

When a bill is enrolled, it is signed by the speaker of the House in the presence of the House.  It is signed by the Lt. Governor in presence of the Senate. It is sent to the Governor who signs or refuses to sign, and it becomes a law.

 If the Governor vetoes the bill, it does not become a law unless the two-thirds majority vote of House and Senate overrides the veto and passes the bill.  



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