Regular legislative business closes and unresolved issues wait until Special sessions are called by the Governor.
How the Committee Process Works: A key phase of the life cycle of a bill is the committee process. Once a bill is filed by an author, it is assigned to one of many committees, depending on the nature of the bill. It is during open committee hearings that the general public and subject matter experts are invited to share their perspectives and expertise that might help legislators understand the impact a bill could have on the lives of Texans.
**It’s important to note that each Chamber (House and Senate) can take up “interim charges” in committee during non-session years, which can include follow-up on bills filed the session previous and/or issues that need addressing between Sessions.
Providing Verbal, In-Person Testimony: To orally share your testimony, you must first register to testify as a witness. You can register on the day a bill is scheduled to be heard by the assigned committee. The Texas House of Representatives provides the public with a step-by-step guide for registering to testify. Click here to view.
The Texas Senate tends to vary per committee, regarding testimony registration, with guidance typically being found at the bottom of each posted committee agenda. Typically, an option will always be to register within the Capitol on the kiosks provided in the Senate Chamber area, located in the hallway between the main concourse and legislator offices. Click here for a map of that area.
** You can register for house hearings on your own device (phone, iPad, laptop, etc.) within the Capitol as long as you are connected to the Capitol WiFi network. Senate hearings must be done according to rules posted on agendas.
On the day of the hearing, the committee chair calls out each bill as it comes up to be heard by the committee. After a bill is called and its author explains the bill, the chair will call out names of people who have registered to provide oral, in-person testimony, or “witnesses.”
When your name is called as a witness, you will go up to the committee panel or podium, state your name, who you represent, your position on the bill, and then provide your testimony.
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