Skip to main content

Agenda Texas: Looming Legislative Deadlines

On the latest Agenda Texas, from KUT News and the Tribune: With lawmakers running out of time to get legislation to the governor's desk, we take a look at the procedural maze that keeps most bills from even getting a vote.

The crowded House floor during debate on SB 1 April 4, 2013.

More than 6,000 bills were filed in the 2013 legislative session. Historically speaking, only about 20 percent of them will be signed into law.

Many of those that don’t pass won’t even receive the dignified end of being voted down by lawmakers. Some will instead get trapped forever in the labyrinth of procedures and deadlines that mark the last month of the session.

"The legislative session is set up like a funnel — at the beginning you can consider everything, and they file about 6 or 7,000 bills and say we want to do this and that and the other thing," said the Tribune's executive editor, Ross Ramsey.

"There's this calendar page that floats around the Legislature," he added. "It's black on white prints, and some of the dates on this have red squares around them, and those are deadline days."

May 6 is the first of these deadlines. That's the final day a House committee can pass out a bill and send it on to the House floor. There are similar deadlines in the Senate, but that chamber tends to suspend any rules necessary to pass a bill.

"The way the Senate works its rules, they can suspend the laws of gravity if they want to," Ramsey said.

The deadlines are just the first of many procedural pitfalls that end a legislative session. Got a question about how the 140 days wrap up? Send it to us at You can also follow us on Twitter: @AgendaTexas.

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Support independent Texas news

Become a member. Join today.

Donate now

Explore related story topics