How to Use Texas Legislature Online (TLO)
The Texas Legislature Online (TLO) is a system that to enables the public to view the status of legislation and provide the ability to search bill text, amendment text, and bill information.
TLO provides a number of tools for the public to use to receive information on bills. You do not need to register to use TLO, but registering for a MyTLO account provides additional tools such as the ability to save bill searches, to create your own bill lists, and to follow selected bills. To create an account click the login button in the right hand corner and follow the directions.
At the home page you can do a quick search for legislation by Word/Phase or by Bill Number. To look up recent bills in the last session, make sure the search bar it reads: 84(R) – 2015. The search bar usually defaults to the most recent legislative session.
Finding Recently Passed Bills:
There are a number of different ways to look up bills, but in this blog we will be using Bill Search.
Click the Search tab listed in the navigation bar on the top of the page.
From there click Bill Search listed first on the page.
The Bill Search will give you a number of opinions to search by; Author/Sponsor, Subject, Committee, Actions. Since we are interested in bills that just passed, we are going to now click Select action criteria… in the Action box.
A separate window will appear, click the drop box Category and select Governor has taken action (E). Once you have done that move all actions listed from Actions to Selected, then click Okay.
Once you have completed those actions you can click Search in the right corner.
You will now have a list off all bills recently passed.
If you are interested in specific subject of recently passed bills before clicking Search; go to the Subjects box, click Select subject criteria.
This once again will open a separate window. Add the subject(s) you are interested in to the Selected, then click Okay. Click search and you should have all recent passed bills that relate to that subject.
Understanding the Bill:
Before reading the bill we suggest to read the Background & Purpose of each bill before the actual legislation. The Background & Purpose will give you a brief understanding and the intention of the bill.
To get to this information:
Go to the homepage of TLO. Click the Search tab.
Type in top right hand corner bill number then press go.
Make sure when searching that you are in the 84th legislative session. On the search bar make sure it reads 84R. Also when searching you must put SB or HB before listing the numbers. It does matter if you put SB or HB. SB 2020 is not the same bill as HB 2020.
Click the Text tab.
Listed under the Text tab will several things you can use. Under the Analysis is the Background & Purpose for each bill. The page lists text by first draft to final. So for example if there is a House Committee Report Analysis and an Engrossed Analysis. The engrossed will be the one you will want to read.
We highly suggest reading the analysis then the bill. Sometimes if the analysis is confusing it helps to read the fiscal note. Not all bills have fiscal notes.
For more information on how to use TLO check out the help manual: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/Help/CSC/TLO.htm
For more resources on bills check out the Legislative Reference Library of Texas:
This blog is a part of a blog series leading to our event 60 Laws in 60 Minutes. We will be going over 60 recently passed law and how they affect you.
If you have any questions, contact Student Legal & Mediation Services at (936) 294-1717 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.