Legislators File 5,400 Bills
By Senator Craig Estes
A flurry of activity enveloped the Capitol on March 14 as the deadline came and went for legislation to be filed for consideration during the 78th Legislature underway in Austin. Some political observers had earlier forecast that the number of bills filed this session would be lower than usual, a prognosis largely driven by the state's financial woes. As it turned out, those statistical predictions were inaccurate.
As the dust began settling after the filing deadline, it was revealed that the state's 181 legislators had filed a total of 5,406 bills to be considered during this regular 140-day session. Bill statistics for this 78th Legislature are fairly well in line with the most recent sessions: 5,544 in the 77th Legislature, 5,766 in the 76th Legislature, and 5,561 in the 75th Legislature.
If the history repeats itself, less than 30 percent of the total bills filed will survive the rigors of the legislative process and the governor's veto power, so we can expect about 1,500 to 1,600 of the original bills filed to actually become law.
Going into this, my first legislative session, I had no preconceived notion of filing a lot of legislation. Texas already has a staggering number of laws, so my goal was to carefully consider the bills I would carry while devoting ample energy to grasping the issues and working to defeat any bad legislation that comes before the committees on which I serve or to the floor of the Senate.
The 31 members of the Texas Senate have filed a total of 1,855 bills for an average of about 60 bills per Senator, individually ranging from less than a dozen to more than 100. My legislative package contains 25 bills for which I am the primary author. They include some bills which would affect all Texans and others which address issues of keen interest to specific communities within the 18 counties of Senate District 30.
- Senate Bill 134 relating to the creation of an additional judicial district in Parker County.
- Senate Bill 146 relating to procedural and registration requirements for certain sex offenders who seek to change their names.
- Senate Bill 484 relating to the competitive bidding requirement for the Greater Texoma Utility Authority.
- Senate Bill 673 relating to the application of the sales tax to certain electric lawn mowers.
- Senate Bill 674 relating to compensatory time off for certain persons who are employed by the state as peace officers.
- Senate Bill 675 relating to the status as an employer under a workers' compensation insurance policy or certificate of authority to self-insure.
- Senate Bill 676 relating to the service area of the Weatherford College District.
- Senate Bill 677 relating to the number of license plates to be issued for and displayed on certain motor vehicles.
- Senate Bill 696 relating to franchise tax deductions and exemptions for certain business activities involving desalination devices.
- Senate Bill 742 relating to the punishment for the offense of failure to identify.
- Senate Bill 761 relating to the requirement that certain contracts awarded by the Veterans Land Board be subject to competitive bidding.
- Senate Bill 1140 relating to the election of directors of a soil and water conservation district.
- Senate Bill 1141 relating to agriculture and the powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture.
- Senate Bill 1231 relating to the issuance of special "United We Stand" license plates.
- Senate Bill 1237 relating to additional fees assessed against institutions licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code.
- Senate Bill 1268 relating to the creation of an organic standards registration and certification program.
- Senate Bill 1269 relating to the powers of the executive director of the Office of Rural Community Affairs.
- Senate Bill 1406 relating to the issuance of concealed handgun licenses to residents of certain other states and to reciprocity agreements with other states concerning concealed handgun licenses.
- Senate Bill 1407 relating to regulation of certain information logo signs along certain major highways.
- Senate Bill 1752 relating to the use of the reverse auction procedure by state agencies.
- Senate Bill 1753 relating to creating an interagency work group on rural issues.
- Senate Bill 1754 relating to the clarification of certain requirements regarding pipeline assessment, testing, and safety.
- Senate Bill 1762 relating to funding for the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science.
- Senate Bill 1774 relating to the designation of part of Interstate Highway 35 as the Purple Heart Trail.
- Senate Bill 1775 related to the licensing of marine manufacturers, dealers, and distributors.
Full text and detailed information about these and other bills being considered by the 78th Legislature, is available on the Internet by going to the Texas Legislature Online at www.capitol.state.tx.us.
The Legislative Reference Library also operates a toll-free bill status hotline available by calling 1-877-824-7038. The hotline is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until the Legislature adjourns for the day.
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