Texas Legislature’s 2015 session in review

domecenterThe 84th Texas Legislature considered a variety of issues during its regular, 140-day session earlier this year. Members filed 6,276 bills during this year’s regular session, which ended June 1. Of these, 1,323 were passed by both chambers and sent to the governor for approval.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed 1,118 bills into law, allowed 162 to become law without his signature, and signed two appropriations bills, with vetoes of some individual line-items. The governor also vetoed 41 bills and one concurrent resolution.

Among the major bills enacted were those that restructured health and human services agencies, cut taxes, decriminalized truancy, addressed water needs, allowed open carry for concealed handgun license holders, and increased oversight of state contracts. Summaries of some of the regular session’s major issues — including both bills that were enacted and those that failed to become law — are available in the House Research Organization’s (HRO’s) latest focus report, Major Issues of the 84th Legislature. The report includes a digest of the bill, as well as supporting and opposing comments that were offered during consideration of the legislation.

Among the pieces of  legislation approved by the Legislature were seven resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution. These resolutions go before the voters for approval in the upcoming Nov. 3 election. More information about these proposed amendments can be found in the HRO’s focus report Constitutional Amendments Proposed for November 2015 Ballot. The report includes a digest of each House or Senate joint resolution proposing an amendment, some supporting and opposing comments offered during consideration of the legislation, and the language that will appear on the ballot for each proposition. The report also offers an explanation of the process for amending the Texas Constitution.

Among the bills that did not become law were those that were vetoed by the governor, who was required to exercise his veto authority by June 21. Information about the bills that were vetoed is available in the HRO’s report Vetoes of Legislation: 84th Legislature. The report includes a brief digest of each vetoed bill, the governor’s stated reason for the veto, and a response to the veto by the author or the sponsor of the bill.

By Janet Elliott

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