GOVERNMENT CODE


TITLE 3. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH


SUBTITLE A. LEGISLATURE


CHAPTER 301. LEGISLATIVE ORGANIZATION


SUBCHAPTER A. INITIAL MEETING AND ORGANIZATION


Sec. 301.001. TIME OF MEETING. The legislature shall convene in regular session at 12 noon on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.002. WHO MAY ORGANIZE. The following persons only may organize the senate and house of representatives:

(1) senators who have not completed their terms of office; and

(2) individuals who have received certification of election to the house of representatives or senate.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.003. SECRETARY OF STATE AS PRESIDING OFFICER. (a) The secretary of state shall attend the convening of each regular legislative session and shall preside.

(b) If there is no secretary of state or if the secretary of state is absent or unable to attend, the attorney general shall attend and preside.

(c) The secretary of state shall appoint a clerk to take the minutes of the proceedings. If the chief clerk of the house of representatives for the previous session is present, the secretary of state shall appoint that person to act as clerk.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.004. DUTIES OF CLERK. (a) Under the direction of the secretary of state, the clerk shall call the counties in alphabetical order regardless of whether the secretary of state has received the election returns for each county.

(b) If an individual appears at the call and presents proper evidence of his election, the individual shall be admitted or qualified as if the individual's election returns had been made to the secretary of state.

(c) After the clerk has called the counties and the members-elect have appeared and presented their credentials, the clerk shall administer the official oath to each member-elect.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.005. LACK OF QUORUM. If a quorum is not present on the day the legislature is to convene, the secretary of state and the clerk shall attend each day until a quorum appears and is qualified.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.006. SELECTION OF OFFICERS. (a) Immediately after election of the speaker of the house of representatives under Section 302.001, the speaker shall take the chair.

(b) After the speaker takes the chair, the house of representatives shall choose necessary officers and the speaker shall administer the official oath to them.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.007. DISTRIBUTION OF JOURNALS. (a) The lieutenant governor and speaker shall each appoint an employee to distribute the journal of the respective houses.

(b) The employee shall distribute a copy of the journal to:

(1) the governor;

(2) each member of the legislature; and

(3) heads of departments, if requested.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

SUBCHAPTER B. LEGISLATIVE REORGANIZATION ACT


Sec. 301.011. SHORT TITLE. This subchapter may be cited as the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1961.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.012. PURPOSE. The legislature believes that it must conduct its activities on a full-time and continuing basis in order to achieve efficiency and continuity in performing its duties. It is the purpose of this subchapter to authorize legislative committees and other legislative instrumentalities to work and meet their responsibilities regardless of whether the legislature is in session.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.013. SELECTION OF COMMITTEES. (a) In its rules of procedure or in a simple resolution, each house may determine the number, composition, function, membership, and authority of its committees.

(b) By concurrent resolution, the two houses may determine the number, composition, function, membership, and authority of joint committees.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.014. POWERS AND DUTIES OF STANDING COMMITTEES. (a) Each standing committee shall:

(1) conduct a continuing study of any matter within its jurisdiction and of the instrumentalities of government administering or executing the matter;

(2) examine the administration and execution of all laws relating to matters within its jurisdiction;

(3) conduct investigations to collect adequate information and materials necessary to perform its duties;

(4) formulate legislative programs; and

(5) initiate, draft, and recommend to the appropriate house any legislation the committee believes is necessary and desirable.

(b) The chair of each standing committee shall introduce or cause to be introduced the legislative programs developed by the committee and shall mobilize committee efforts to secure the enactment into law of committee proposals.

(c) Each committee may inspect the records, documents, and files of each state department, agency, or office as necessary to perform the committee's duties.

(d) A standing committee is not limited in its legislative endeavors to considering bills, resolutions, or other proposals submitted by individual legislators. Each committee shall search for problems within its jurisdiction and develop, formulate, initiate, and secure passage of any legislative solution the committee believes is desirable.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.015. MEETINGS OF STANDING COMMITTEES. (a) When the legislature is in session, each standing committee shall, if practicable, meet regularly according to applicable legislative requirements and rules of procedure. A committee shall meet at other times determined by the committee.

(b) When the legislature is not in session, each standing committee shall meet as necessary to transact the committee's business. Each committee shall meet in Austin, except that if authorized by resolution of the house creating the committee, the committee may meet in any location in this state that the committee determines necessary. To the extent authorized by resolution, each committee may determine its meeting times.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.016. SPECIAL COMMITTEES. (a) By resolution, each house acting individually or the two houses acting jointly may create special committees.

(b) A special committee shall perform the duties and functions and exercise the powers prescribed by the resolution creating the committee.

(c) Except as limited by the resolution creating the special committee, a special committee shall have and exercise the powers granted under this subchapter to a standing committee. A special committee also has any other powers delegated to it by the resolution creating the committee, subject to the limitations of law.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.017. GENERAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEES. (a) By resolution, each house may create a general investigating committee.

(b) The senate general investigating committee must consist of five senators appointed by the president of the senate. The president of the senate shall designate a committee member as chairman.

(c) The house general investigating committee must consist of not fewer than five house members appointed by the speaker. The speaker shall designate a committee member as chairman.

(d) Each member serves a term beginning on the date of the member's appointment and ending with the convening of the next regular session following the date of appointment.

(e) If a vacancy occurs on a general investigating committee, the appropriate appointing authority shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy in the same manner as the original appointment.

(f) Each general investigating committee shall select a vice-chairman and secretary from among its members.

(g) Members of a general investigating committee are entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in attending committee meetings and engaging in committee work.

(h) All expenses of a general investigating committee, including compensation of the committee's employees and expenses incurred by members, shall be paid out of any appropriation to the legislature for mileage, per diem, and contingent expenses.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1005, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 301.018. GENERAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE MEETINGS. (a) Each general investigating committee may begin work as soon as it desires after its members are appointed. Each general investigating committee created under this subchapter shall meet, organize, and adopt rules of evidence and procedure and any other necessary rules. The committee rules may not conflict with Section 301.025.

(b) Whether or not the legislature is in session, each general investigating committee may meet at any time or place in the state determined necessary by the committee.

(c) Each general investigating committee shall keep a record of its proceedings.

(d) A majority of the members of a general investigating committee constitutes a quorum to transact business.

(e) If the general investigating committees decide not to conduct joint hearings as provided by Section 301.019, the committees shall establish a liaison to fully inform the chairman of the inactive committee of the nature and progress of any inquiry by the other committee.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1005, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 301.019. JOINT GENERAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE HEARINGS. (a) On a majority vote of each general investigating committee, the committees may conduct joint hearings and investigations. The committees may adopt joint rules to govern the hearings.

(b) If the general investigating committees conduct joint inquiries or investigations, the chairman of the senate committee shall be the chairman and the chairman of the house committee shall be the vice-chairman.

(c) Seven members of a joint general investigating committee constitute a quorum.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.020. POWERS AND DUTIES OF GENERAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEES. (a) Each general investigating committee may initiate or continue inquiries and hearings concerning:

(1) state government;

(2) any agency or subdivision of government within the state;

(3) the expenditure of public funds at any level of government within the state; and

(4) any other matter the committee considers necessary for the information of the legislature or for the welfare and protection of state citizens.

(b) Each general investigating committee may inspect the records, documents, and files and may examine the duties, responsibilities, and activities of each state department, agency, and officer and of each municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state.

(c) If a person disobeys a subpoena or other process that a general investigating committee lawfully issues, the committee may cite the person for contempt and cause the person to be prosecuted for contempt according to the procedure prescribed by this chapter or by other law.

(d) Each general investigating committee shall make reports to members of the legislature that the committee determines are necessary and appropriate.

(e) Information held by a general investigating committee that if held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor would be excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 under Section 552.108 is confidential and not subject to public disclosure.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1005, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 301.021. GENERAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE EMPLOYEES. (a) If for any reason it is necessary to obtain assistance in addition to the services provided by the State Auditor, attorney general, Texas Legislative Council, or Department of Public Safety, each general investigating committee may employ and compensate assistants to assist in any investigation, audit, or legal matter.

(b) Each general investigating committee may employ and compensate clerks, stenographers, and other employees to conduct committee investigations and hearings and keep proper records.

(c) Before a general investigating committee may employ or compensate an employee, the committee must submit the proposed employment to the president of the senate or speaker of the house, as appropriate, for authorization. If the president of the senate or speaker agrees to the proposed employment, he must authorize the employment in writing.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.022. TESTIMONY UNDER OATH. (a) All legislative committees shall require witnesses to give testimony under oath, subject to the penalties of perjury.

(b) The oath required by this section may be waived by any committee except a general investigating committee.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.023. ADMINISTERING OATHS. (a) The following individuals may administer oaths to testifying witnesses:

(1) the president of the senate;

(2) the speaker of the house;

(3) the chairman or acting chairman of a standing or special committee; and

(4) the chairman or acting chairman of a joint committee.

(b) If circumstances require, a member of either house may administer an oath to a witness testifying on a matter pending in the member's house or in a committee of that house.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.024. PROCESS. (a) A general investigating committee may issue process to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, documents, and instruments required by the committee. Any other committee may issue process if authorized by the resolution creating the committee or the rules of procedure of the creating house. A committee may issue process to a witness at any place in this state.

(b) A committee chairman shall issue in the name of the committee all subpoenas and other process as directed by the committee.

(c) If necessary to obtain compliance with a subpoena or other process, a committee may issue writs of attachment.

(d) All process may be addressed to and served by any peace officer of this state or by the sergeant at arms appointed by the committee.

(e) A witness who attends a committee proceeding or a proceeding of either house under process is entitled to the same mileage and per diem as a witness who appears before a grand jury in this state. Mileage and per diem are paid from that house's contingent expense fund or from the contingent expense fund of the committee conducting the proceeding.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.025. REFUSAL TO TESTIFY. (a) A witness called by either house or by a legislative committee does not have a privilege to refuse to testify to a fact or produce a document on the ground that the testimony or document may tend to disgrace the person or otherwise make the person infamous.

(b) The legislature may require a person to testify or produce a document concerning a matter under inquiry before either house or a legislative committee even if the person claims that the testimony or document may incriminate him.

(c) If a person testifies or produces a document while claiming that the testimony or document may incriminate him, the person may not be indicted or prosecuted for any transaction, matter, or thing about which the person truthfully testified or produced evidence.

(d) A witness has a right to counsel when testifying before the legislature or a legislative committee.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.026. CONTEMPT OF LEGISLATURE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) has been summoned as a witness to testify or produce papers by either house or any legislative committee; and

(2) refuses to appear, refuses to answer relevant questions, or refuses to produce required books, papers, records, or documents.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and by imprisonment for not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.027. PROSECUTION FOR CONTEMPT OF LEGISLATURE. (a) If a person is summoned by either house or any legislative committee as prescribed by Section 301.024 and fails to appear, refuses to answer relevant questions, or fails to produce required books, papers, records, or documents while the legislature is in session, the fact of the failure may be reported to either house. If the legislature is not in session, a statement of facts concerning the failure may be reported to and filed with the president of the senate or speaker of the house.

(b) If the president of the senate or speaker receives a report or statement of facts as provided by Subsection (a), the president of the senate or speaker shall certify the statement of facts to the Travis County district attorney under the seal of the senate or house of representatives, as appropriate.

(c) The Travis County district attorney shall bring the matter before the grand jury for action. If the grand jury returns an indictment, the district attorney shall prosecute the indictment.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.028. COOPERATION OF OTHER AGENCIES. (a) Each standing committee, including a general investigating committee, may request necessary assistance from all state agencies, departments, and offices, including:

(1) the State Auditor;

(2) the Texas Legislative Council;

(3) the Department of Public Safety; and

(4) the attorney general.

(b) Each state agency, department, and office shall assist any legislative committee that requests assistance.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.029. APPROPRIATIONS FOR SALARIES, PER DIEM, AND EXPENDITURES. (a) Each house may pay contingent expenses for the entire term of each member of that house.

(b) Each house may appropriate money to pay all salaries, per diem, and other expenditures authorized by law.

(c) The appropriations to the legislature shall specify separate appropriations for the house of representatives and for the senate.

(d) The comptroller of public accounts shall keep each house's accounts separate and distinct. Unless authorized by law, money in one account may not be transferred to the other account.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.031. COMMITTEE STAFF. From its contingent expense fund, each house may provide for necessary clerks, clerical assistance, and staff to each committee created by that house.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 301.032. GIFTS AND GRANTS. (a) Either house of the legislature may accept gifts, grants, and donations from any organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of funding any legislative activity.

(b) A committee created by resolution may accept gifts, grants, and donations for purposes of funding the committee's activities unless the resolution prohibits the acceptance.

(c) All gifts, grants, and donations must be accepted in an open meeting by a majority of the voting members of the appropriate body and reported in the public record of the accepting body with the name of the donor and purpose of the gift, grant, or donation.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 617, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Sec. 301.033. ALLOCATION OF SPACE IN LEGISLATIVE SERVICES BUILDING. (a) The space in the legislative services office building and parking facilities authorized by Chapter 168, Acts of the 74th Legislature, Regular Session, 1995, is allocated to the legislature and legislative agencies for their use. The presiding officers of each house of the legislature shall jointly decide the allocation of the space in the building and facilities.

(b) The building shall be known as the Robert E. Johnson Building.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 227, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 301.034. SALE OF TEXAS FLAGS AND SIMILAR ITEMS. Either house of the legislature may acquire and provide for the sale of Texas flags and other items carrying symbols of the State of Texas.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 377, Sec. 1, eff. May 29, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 301.033 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(35), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER C. MEMBERSHIP ON INTERIM COMMITTEES


Sec. 301.041. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP. (a) A duly appointed senator's or representative's membership on the Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Library Board, Legislative Audit Committee, Texas Legislative Council, or any other interim committee terminates if the member:

(1) resigns the membership;

(2) ceases membership in the legislature for any reason; or

(3) fails to be nominated or elected to the legislature for the next term.

(b) A vacancy created under this section shall be immediately filled by appointment for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment.

(c) If a member serves on the Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Library Board, or Legislative Audit Committee because of the member's position as chairman of a standing committee, this section does not affect the member's position as chairman of that standing committee.

(d) In filling a vacancy created under this section, the lieutenant governor or the speaker may appoint a senator or representative, as appropriate, other than a committee chairman designated by law to serve as a member of the Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Library Board, Legislative Audit Committee, Texas Legislative Council, or any other interim committee. An appointment made under this subsection does not constitute an appointment to any position other than that of a member of a board, council, or committee covered by this section.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 2.01(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

SUBCHAPTER D. LEGISLATIVE PUBLICATIONS


Sec. 301.051. ISSUANCE OF PUBLICATIONS. Either house of the legislature or a legislative agency may produce and sell or distribute publications that the house or agency determines to be of interest to the legislature or the general public. The sales price of a publication shall be designed to recover costs incurred in preparing and issuing the publication.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 769, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987.

SUBCHAPTER E. LEGAL REPRESENTATION OF LEGISLATURE


Sec. 301.061. LEGAL REPRESENTATION OF LEGISLATURE. (a) Subject to the requirements of Subsection (b) and to the exception provided in Subsection (c), the legislature, after notifying and consulting the attorney general, may employ counsel, or authorize the counsel of a legislative agency, to file suits on behalf of the legislature, to intervene in pending litigation on behalf of the legislature, or to otherwise represent the legislature in the courts of this state or in the courts of the United States.

(b) Representation of the legislature under this section is authorized only if:

(1) the speaker and the president of the senate approve the representation in writing; or

(2) both houses by concurrent resolution approve the representation.

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply to the representation of the interests of the legislature before the Supreme Court of Texas in violation of Article IV, Section 22, of the Texas Constitution.

(d) A member of the legislature is immune from civil liability resulting from the legislature's participation in litigation under this section, including liability for attorney fees, costs, and sanctions that may be awarded in the litigation. This subsection is cumulative of the common law immunity applicable to the conduct of members of the legislature.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 753, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 1993.