We are in the Homestretch of the Legislative Session. Here's How it Works.
Updated: May 26, 2021
When a bill comes up for consideration by the full House or Senate, it receives its second reading. The bill is read, again by caption only, and then debated by the full membership of the chamber. Any member may offer an amendment, but it must be approved by a majority of the members present and voting to be adopted. The members then vote on whether to pass the bill. The bill is then considered by the full body again on third reading and final passage.
A bill may be amended again on third reading, but amendments at this stage require a two-thirds majority for adoption. Although the Texas Constitution requires a bill to be read on three separate days in each house before it can have the force of law, this constitutional rule may be suspended by a four-fifths vote of the house in which the bill is pending. The Senate routinely suspends this constitutional provision in order to give a bill an immediate third reading after its second reading consideration. The House, however, rarely suspends this provision, and a third reading of a bill in the house normally occurs on the day following its second reading consideration.
In either house, a bill may be passed on a voice vote or a record vote. In the house, record votes are tallied by an electronic vote board controlled by buttons on each member's desk. In the Senate, record votes are taken by calling the roll of the members. If a bill receives a majority vote on third reading, it is considered passed.
When a bill is passed in the house where it originated, the bill is engrossed, and a new copy of the bill which incorporates all corrections and amendments is prepared and sent to the opposite chamber for consideration. In the second house, the bill follows basically the same steps it followed in the first house. When the bill is passed in the opposite house, it is returned to the originating chamber with any amendments that have been adopted simply attached to the bill.
If a bill is returned to the originating chamber without amendments, it is put in final form, signed by the Speaker and Lieutenant Governor, and sent to the Governor.