Texas Legislature Project â Part I
The Texas Legislature was in session from January 13th thru May 31st (2015), and in this assignment, I want you to
identify a bill that is of interest to you that was introduced in either the Texas House or Texas Senate in 2015 (the 84th
Texas Legislative Sessionâknown as 84R). You can choose a bill that did not become law or one that didâabout 90% or
more of the bills submitted to the Texas Legislature do not become law.
Put yourself in the shoes of a lobbyistâwhich is a person who is an advocate or opponent of proposed legislation and who
makes contact with one or more legislators to encourage passage or defeat of a bill. Given this, you want to choose a bill
that addresses a topic that you would both support and want to see passedâorâone that you would oppose and want to
Title your writeup
with the bill number and a very short description of the topic, e.g., âHB680âFlagpoles.â Bills will typically
start with âHB,â which stands for âHouse Bill,â meaning a member of the Texas House of Representatives submitted the bill
for considerationâorââSB,â which stands for âSenate Bill,â meaning that a member of the Texas Senate submitted the bill.
Give a description of the bill. Be concise but also provide some useful detail about the topic being addressed by the bill.
Then report how far the bill progressed through the legislative process (e.g., it died in the Business and Industry
Committee in the House). If the bill proposes to update a current law, be sure to explain what the proposed change is (i.e.,
what was the law before and how it would be changed). Most bills will âdieâ in a committee in the House or SenateÍ¾ it
becomes law if the governor signs the bill.
Also include contact information for the first author of the bill, as well as the legislatorâs chief of staffâs name and email (if
you were to contact a legislatorâs office, you would want to start by contacting the chief of staff). Provide phone numbers for
the Capitol and District offices of the legislator.
Here is an example:
I looked up a bill regarding the regulation of a flagpole in oneâs front yard from the 83rd legislative session (in 2013). The
regulator in this case was a Homeownerâs Associations (HOA) as opposed to the government. If at some point in your life,
you buy a house in a neighborhood, most likely the neighborhood will have an HOA, and you will sign an HOA agreement,
which will obligate you to obey the rules of the HOA and pay fines when you donât. An HOA is like a private governing
Here is my sample writeup.
âI investigated the issue of Homeowners Associationsâ (HOAs) regulation of flagpoles in the front yard of a homeowner.
Some HOAs have banned flagpoles, even after the legislature passed a bill in 2011 to stop HOAs from prohibiting
homeowners from flying a flag in their front yards. A bill was introduced in the Texas House, HB 680, and the bill made it
through the entire legislative process. The bill passed the House with a vote of 146 in favor and 1 against, and it passed
the Senate 31 in favor and 0 againstâand the governor signed the bill into law. This was a noncontroversial billâthere
was virtually no opposition to clarifying the 2011 law. What the legislature wanted to clarify was that homeowners are
entitled to place at least one flagpole in their front yards. Still, the bill empowers HOAs to regulate the placement of
flagpoles in a number of ways: the regulation of the number of poles, compliance with zoning ordinances, the illumination
(lighting) of flags at night, and others.â
First Author, Cindy
Texas Legislature Project â Part I
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