Understanding the Legislative Maze: A Data Dive into Texas Bill Statistics

In the ever-evolving landscape of Texas politics, the legislative process often appears as a complex labyrinth, with countless bills entering but only a few emerging successfully. A recent data project, meticulously analyzing the last 11 legislative sessions, offers a revealing glimpse into this journey of Texas House and Senate bills.

This project, a beacon for activists, politicians, and citizens alike, focuses on two primary metrics: the number of bills filed and the number of bills that successfully navigated through the legislative process. The stark contrast between these two figures is not just a number but a narrative of the legislative grind.

Over the past 11 sessions, an overwhelming number of bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate. This ambitious start is a testament to the diverse interests and issues that lawmakers aim to address. However, the journey from filing to passing is fraught with challenges. Committees, debates, and amendments act as filters, narrowing down the torrent of bills to a trickle of legislation that aligns with the political, social, and economic ethos of the time.

LegislatureTotal
HB & SB Filed
Total
HB & SB Passed
Total
Percentage Passed
88th (2023)8,0461,24615.5%
87th (2021)6,9271,07315.5%
86th (2019)7,3241,42919.5%
85th (2017)6,6311,21118.3%
84th (2015)6,2761,32321.1%
83rd (2013)5,8681,43724.5%
82nd (2011)5,7961,37923.8%
81st (2009)7,4191,45919.7%
80th (2007)6,1901,48123.9%
79th (2005)5,4841,38925.3%
78th (2003)5,5921,38424.7%

The data reveals an intriguing trend: only a small percentage of the filed bills make it to the finish line. This percentage, though seemingly minimal, represents the many pitfalls that legislation can succumb to as a part of the legislative process. A whole host of factors can contribute to its demise.

Not included in the overall passage metrics are other types of legislation such as Concurrent Resolutions (HCRs/SCRs), Joint Resolutions (HJRs/SJRs), or Simple Resolutions (HRs/SRs). Though these are technically all bills that are considered by lawmakers they normally take differing routes through the entirety of the legislative process and their numbers are generally minimal when compared to the normal pieces of legislation (HBs/SBs).

We intend to update this data as legislative sessions continue.

To view all of the data go here.

For the raw data as provided by the Legislative Reference Library of Texas go here.

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