88th LegislatureIssuesState HouseState SenateBill Filing Deadline Arrives for Texas Lawmakers

Without suspending the constitutional order of business, lawmakers must wait 60 days before considering most bills and resolutions on the floor.
March 10, 2023
Friday is the last day for Texas lawmakers to file most bills and resolutions, commencing the portion of the legislative session characterized by floor debates and consideration of hot-button issues.

The Texas Constitution allows senators and representatives to begin debating, amending, and passing changes to state law after 60 days have elapsed during the regular session, which began January 10. After Friday, aside from “local bills” and emergency items, a member would need the approval of four-fifths of those voting in the House or four-fifths of all members of the Senate.

Before Friday, lawmakers could only consider emergency bills submitted by the governor without suspending the constitutional order of business. However, aside from a handful of bills passed in the Senate this week, most of the time on the floor has been occupied by ceremonial traditions, congratulatory measures, memorial resolutions, and referring bills to committees.

In most cases, in order for a bill to become law, it must receive a favorable report by the committee where it is referred and then be approved by a majority vote in both the House and Senate. The governor must then either approve or veto the bill within 10 days. He can also allow it to become law by taking no action.

The next significant milestones in the 88th Legislature are Saturday, April 15, which is the first day a senator can ask to prioritize up to five bills as opposed to only three; and Monday, May 8, which is technically the last day a House committee can report a bill favorably for it to have a chance at being placed on the calendar for floor consideration.

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Other than Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), one of the most powerful members in the House is Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), the chair of the Calendars Committee. His committee sets the agenda for consideration of bills on the House floor. Burrows leads the committee with Vice Chair Toni Rose (D-Dallas).

On the Senate side, bills and resolutions are considered in the order in which they are passed out of committee unless the Senate agrees to suspend the rules and take them up in a different order, which is common practice.

Any proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution the Legislature passes will likely be placed on the general election ballot in November 2023.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."