The Annie's List Blog

Navigating TLO 101

With the bill filing deadline less than 3 weeks away (March 8), we thought it'd be helpful to provide a few TLO tips for any newbies navigating the #txlege -- and others who might just need a refresher!
Gracie
February 19, 2019
Texas State Capitol Building in Austin, TX.

What is TLO?

Texas Legislature Online (TLO) – capitol.texas.gov
TLO enables the public to view the status of legislation and to search bill text, amendment text, and bill information.

Finding a Specific Piece of Legislation

  • If you know the bill number:
    • On the TLO homepage, use the “Search Legislation” feature
    • “Word/Phrase” will automatically be selected, switch the toggle to “Bill Number”
    • Enter the bill number, including the applicable chamber. Ex. HB 151, SB 32
      • The syntax for the bill number should be:  CHAMBER    BILL TYPE    BILL SUFFIX
        • CHAMBER = H (House) or S (Senate)
        • BILL TYPE = B (Bill), R (Resolution), JR (Joint Resolution), CR (Concurrent Resolution)
        • BILL SUFFIX = Up to 5-digit number
  • If you don’t know the bill number:
    • On the TLO homepage, use the “Search Legislation” feature
    • “Word/Phrase” will automatically be selected
    • Enter the word or phrase you are searching. Ex. School finance

Researching Legislation by a Specific Member

  • On the TLO homepage, hover over the “House” tab
  • Click “Members” and find the Member you are looking for
  • On the Member’s page, scroll down to “Legislative Information”
    • Here you can search by bills authored, coauthored, sponsored, etc.
    • Within each link you’ll find the total number of bills authored, and can read the caption, last action (or the most recent step a bill has undergone in the legislative process), and be re-directed to each bill’s history page.

Researching Bills by Subject, Committee, etc.

  • On the TLO homepage, find “Additional Searches”
  • Click “Bill Search”
  • Select the applicable Legislative Session, Chamber, and Bill Type
  • Select the applicable Author and/or Sponsor
    • House members appear before Senate members in the drop down bar
  • Select the “Type” of authorship and/or sponsorship you’d like to search
  • If searching for bills by subject matter, click “Select subject criteria”
    • Searchable by various issues.
  • If searching for bills from a specific committee, click “Committee”
    • Be sure to designate if you’d like to search bills in committee, out of committee, or both.
  • If searching for bills by legislative actions, click “Actions”
    • Common actions include: Effective immediately, Effective in 90 days, Sent to the Governor, Signed by the Governor, Vetoed by the Governor, etc.

Helpful Sites to Know

Texas Constitution and Statues (TCAS) – statutes.capitol.texas.gov
Here you can research statutes and read codes in full.

Legislative Reference Library (LRL) – lrl.texas.gov
Earlier legislative history can be found on LRL, as well as daily news clips related to the legislature and its members.

Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) – ethics.state.tx.us
Research campaign finance reports, delve into election law, and find information on how to make an open records request for certain financial documents, etc.

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