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Online sources for researching current Texas laws

Texas Statutes Online
The Texas Codes and Statutes from Texas Legislature Online. Current through the Regular Session of the 84th Legislature.
Texas Constitution
The Texas Constitution from Texas Legislature Online. Includes changes made by amendments approved by the voters through November 2015.
Texas Constitutional Amendments
Search for information about amendments (adopted, defeated, and proposed) to the Texas Constitution from 1879 - 2015. Search by legislative session or article.
Index to Sections Affected
Search for pending or recent legislation by statute.
Texas Legislature Online
Search for pending or recent legislation by a variety of means, including bill number, subject, author and text search.
Legislative Archive System
Provides easy access to online resources linked to a particular bill number. Results include links to scanned bill files, bill analyses, bill histories, and other documents.

Texas historical legal sources online

The Texas Constitution

Texas Constitutions 1824-1876
Since the adoption of the 1824 Federal Constitution of the United States of Mexico, Texas has been governed by constitutions. The Tarlton Law Library's Texas Constitutions Digitization Project makes these historical constitutions available online. The site features the 1824 Mexican Constitution, the Texas Declaration of Independence, the 1845 state constitution, the 1861 constitution seceding from the United States, the 1866 constitution rejoining the United States, and the 1866, 1869, and 1876 state constitutions.
The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis by George D. Braden et al., 1977.
Provides information about the history, development and meaning of the Texas Constitution, along with comparative commentary.

Historical statutes

Statutes by date, 2004 to present.
View statutes as they appeared on a given date between 2004 and the present.
Historical Texas Statutes
Texas statutes from 1879 through 1984, including the revisions of 1879, 1895, 1911, and 1925, and updates from 1928 through 1984.
Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure of 1856
The Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure adopted in 1856.

Session laws and other historical material

H.P.N. Gammel's The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897
A compilation of Texas legal materials from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth century. Includes material related to the colonization of Texas and the Republic of Texas, as well as General and Special Laws of Texas for the first through thirty-seventh Legislatures. The University of North Texas Libraries' Portal to Texas History allows users to browse or search the twenty-volume set.
A Digest of the Laws of Texas, 1866-1878
An unofficial compilation of Texas laws by George Paschal.
View Time Line Chart

Time Line

  • October 4, 1824 — Constitution of 1824
    The Federal Constitution of the United States of Mexico was adopted in 1824
  • March 11, 1827 — Constitution of Coahuila and Texas
    The 1824 Constitution of the United States of Mexico required that each state draft a state constitution. The Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas was published in 1827 to govern the combined State of Coahuila and Texas.
  • October 1, 1835 – April 21, 1836 — Texas Revolution
  • March 1, 1836 – March 17, 1836 — Convention of 1836
    The Convention of 1836 met at Washington-on-the-Brazos from March 1, 1836 to March 17, 1836. During period, the Convention wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas and organized the provisional government of the Republic of Texas.
  • March 1, 1845 — U.S. J.R. for Annexing Texas
    The U.S. Congress approves a Joint Resolution in favor of annexing Texas.
  • July 4, 1845 – August 28, 1845 — Constitutional Convention
    On July 4, 1845, a Constitutional Convention meeting in Austin voted in favor of the United States' annexation proposal. During July and August of 1845 Annexation Ordinance and Constitution were written for submission to Texas voters. The text of the Constitution, along with the Debates and Journals of the Convention are available online from Texas Constitutions 1824-1876.
  • October 13, 1845 — Referendum on Annexation
    Texas voters approve annexation and the proposed state constitution.
  • December 29, 1845 — Statehood
    President James K. Polk signed a Joint Resolution to admit Texas as a State making Texas the 28th state of the United States.
  • August 26, 1856 — Codes of 1856 adopted
    The 6th Legislature adopted the Code of Criminal Procedure of the State of Texas and the Penal Code of the State of Texas. These two codes are commonly referred to as the Old Codes.
  • April 12, 1861 – April 12, 1865 — Civil War
  • January 28, 1861 – March 26, 1861 — Secession Convention of 1861
    In late January and early February of 1861, the Convention voted to secede from the United States and passed an ordinance of secession calling for a referendum. Texas voters approved secession in a referendum held on February 23, 1861, and the Convention then adopted a new Constitution of the State of Texas which included changes related to Texas' secession from the United States of America.
  • February 7, 1866 – April 2, 1866 — 1866 Constitutional Convention
    Following the end of the Civil War, Provisional Governor of Texas Andrew Jackson Hamilton called a constitutional convention to make the changes required to bring Texas into compliance with the requirements of presidential reconstruction. The Convention declared secession null and void, accepted the abolition of slavery, canceled Texas' war debts, recognized some rights for freedmen and drafted a series of amendments to the Constitution of the State of Texas.
  • January 1, 1866 — Paschal's Digest published
    The first edition of Paschal's Digest, an unofficial compilation of Texas laws by George Paschal was published in 1866.
  • June 1, 1868 – February 8, 1869 — Reconstruction Convention
    The Constitutional Convention of 1868-1869 was called by General Winfield Scott Hancock following the Congressional Reconstruction Acts of 1867. The delegates did not complete a constitution, however, their incomplete work was published and ratified as the Constitution of 1869.
  • September 6, 1875 – November 24, 1875 — Constitutional Convention
    The 1876 Constitution of the State of Texas was drawn up by the Constitutional Convention of 1876, and was adopted by voters on February 15, 1876. It has been amended more than 400 times since 1876, but the basic structure of government adopted in 1876 remains in today's Texas Constitution.
  • July 30, 1879 – September 1, 1879 — Revised Statutes of Texas, 1879
    In 1879, the 16th Legislature adopted SB 54, an act to adopt and establish the Revised Civil Statues of the State of Texas, and SB 20, an act to establish a Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure for the State of Texas. The Revised Statutes of Texas were the first official codification of Texas law. The Revised Statutes of Texas were largely based on the fifth edition of Paschal's Digest. The Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure became effective on July 24, 1879; the Civil Statues on September 1, 1879.
  • November 9, 1881 — Capitol destroyed by fire
    On November 9, 1881, the Capitol was destroyed by fire. H.P.N. Gammel salvaged legal documents from the wreckage, drying them on a clothesline, sorting and storing them. Years later, these documents would become the basis of Gammel's Laws of Texas.
  • July 30, 1895 – September 1, 1895 — Revised Statutes of Texas, 1895
    In 1895, the 24th Legislature adopted SB 29, an act to adopt and establish the Revised Civil Statues of the State of Texas, and HB 85, an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure for the State of Texas. This was the second bulk revision of Texas laws, the Revised Statutes of Texas, 1895. The Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure took effect on July 30, 1895. The Revised Civil Statutes took effect on September 1, 1895.
  • January 1, 1898 — Gammel's Laws of Texas
    Originally published in ten volumes in 1898 by H.P.N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas is a compilation of Texas legal materials from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth century. It includes material related to the colonization of Texas and the Republic of Texas, as well as General and Special Laws of Texas for the first through thirty-seventh Legislatures. The University of North Texas Libraries' Portal to Texas History allows users to browse or search the twenty-volume set.
  • June 10, 1911 – September 1, 1911 — Revised Statutes of Texas, 1911
    In 1911, the 32nd Legislature adopted its third bulk revision of Texas laws, the Revised Statutes of Texas, 1911. Controversy surrounded creation and publication of the Revised Statutes of 1911. The Criminal Statutes were the subject of particular criticism both for including repealed provisions and for failing to include some laws which had not been repealed. The SB 287, including the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, took effect on June 10, 1911. SB 288, The Revised Civil Statutes, took effect on September 1, 1911.
  • October 7, 1916 — Vernon's Criminal Statutes
    In 1916, the Vernon Law Book Company published Vernon's Criminal Statutes of Texas, an annotatated compilation of the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure updated with changes down to 1915 and including laws which were omitted from the Revised Criminal Statutes of 1911 but not repealed. Vernon's Criminal Statues made extensive use of notes, annotations and cross-references to address other defects with the 1911 revision of the Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • October 7, 1920 — Complete Texas Statutes
    In 1920, The Vernon Law Book Company published an compilation of the 1911 Revised Civil and Criminal Statutes, updated with changes through the called sessions of the 36th Legislature. It also included statutes enacted prior to 1911 and omitted from the Revised Criminal Statutes of 1911.
  • September 1, 1925 — Revised Statutes of Texas, 1925
    In 1925, the 39th Legislature passed SB 84 and SB 7, adopting its fourth bulk revision of Texas laws, the Revised Statutes of Texas, 1925. The Revised Civil Statutes, Code of Criminal Procedure and Penal Code all took effect on September 1, 1925.
  • March 7, 1936 — Vernon's Texas Statutes 1936 Centennial Edition
    In 1936, The Vernon Law Book Company published an unannotated compilation of the 1925 Revised Civil and Criminal Statutes, updated with changes through January 1, 1936. Between 1936 and 1948, this was updated with non-cumulative biennial supplements. In 1948, a new compilation was published, and biennial updates continued.
  • May 15, 1939 — Court Rules Act
    In 1939, the 46th Legislature adopted H.B. 108, conferring and relinquishing to the Texas Supreme Court full rule-making power in civil judicial proceedings. The Court began the process of developing the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The South Texas College of Law Library's Texas Rules of Civil Procedure: Rules Effective Sept. 1, 1941 to date: An Historical Project provides information on the development of the Rules.
  • January 8, 1974 – July 30, 1974 — Constitutional Convention
    From January to July of 1974, the 63rd Legislature met as a constitutional convention. The convention did not approve a new constitution to submit to voters. In 1975, the 64th legislature passed the convention's proposed constitution in the form of Joint Resolutions, to be submitted to Texas voters through the regular constitutional amendment process. All were defeated in an election held November 4, 1975.
  • August 1, 1963 – December 31, 2019 — Statutory Revision program
    In the 38 years since the last general revision of Texas laws, the statutes had become confusing and difficult to use. In 1963, the 58th Legislature passed SB 367, which ordered the creation of a permanent, ongoing statutory revision program. The Texas Legislative Council was charged with making a complete, non-substantive revision of Texas statutes. Legislation enacting new code sections is generally based on a Revisor's Report which contains the proposed language of the new code, the language of the old statutes, and brief notes. When the program is complete, all general and permanent statutes will be included in one of 27 codes:
    • Agriculture Code - HB 1436, 67th R.S.(1981)
    • Alcoholic Beverage Code - HB 815, 65th R.S.(1977)
    • Business and Commerce Code - HB 293, 60th R.S.(1967)
    • Business Organizations Code - HB 1156, 78th R.S.(2003)
    • Civil Practice and Remedies Code - SB 797, 69th R.S(1985)
    • Criminal Procedure Code - not yet enacted.
    • Education Code - HB 534, 61st R.S.(1969) and HB 1657, 62nd R.S.(1971)
    • Election Code - SB 616, 69th R.S.(1985)
    • Estates Code - HB 2502, 81st R.S.(2009)
    • Family Code - HB 53, 61st R.S.(1969) and SB 168, 63rd R.S.(1973)
    • Finance Code - HB 10, 75th R.S.(1997)
    • Government Code
      Judicial Branch - SB 1228, 69th R.S.(1985)
      Legislative Branch - SB 813, 69th R.S.(1985)
      Executive Branch - SB 894, 70th R.S.(1987)
      Public Retirement Systems - SB 1045, 71st R.S.(1989)
      Intergovernmental Relations - SB 448, 72nd R.S.(1991)
      Open Government and Ethics, Public Officers and Employees and General Government - SB 248, 73rd R.S.(1993)
      State Purchasing - SB 958, 74th R.S.(1995)
      Public Securities - HB 3157, 76th R.S.(1999)
    • Health and Safety Code HB 2136, 71st R.S.(1989) and HB 902, 72nd R.S.(1991)
    • Human Resources Code - HB 1834, 66th R.S.(1979)
    • Insurance Code - SB 1467, 76th R.S.(1999), HB 2811, 77th R.S.(2001), HB 2922, 78th R.S.(2003), HB 2017, 79th R.S. (2005) and HB 2636, 80th R.S. (2007)
    • Labor Code - HB 752, 73rd R.S.(1993)
    • Local Government Code - SB 896, 70th R.S.(1987)
    • Natural Resources Code - SB 1207, 65th R.S.(1977)
    • Occupations Code - HB 3155, 76th R.S.(1999) and HB 2813, 77th R.S.(2001)
    • Parks and Wildlife Code - HB 1186, 64th R.S.(1975)
    • Penal Code - SB 34, 63rd R.S.(1973)
    • Probate Code - see the Estates Code.
    • Property Code - SB 748, 68th R.S.(1983)
    • Special District Local Laws Code - HB 3508, 78th R.S.(2003)HB 2019, 79th R.S.(2005), HB 3166, 80th R.S.(2007), HB 2619, 81st R.S.(2009), SB 1147, 82nd R.S.(2011), SB 1026, 83rd R.S.(2013), SB 1162, 84th R.S.(2013), and HB 2803, 85th R.S.(2017)
    • Tax Code - SB 621, 66th R.S. (1979), HB 1708, 67th R.S.(1981) and SB 888, 70th R.S. (1987).
    • Transportation Code - SB 971, 74th R.S.(1995)
      Railroad Laws - SB 1540, 81st R.S.(2009)
    • Utilities Code - SB 1751, 75th R.S.(1997)
    • Water Code - HB 343, 62nd R.S.(1971)
  • January 10, 1967 – May 29, 1967 — Business and Commerce Code
    Enacted by HB 293, 60th R.S. 1967, based on a Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 14, 1969 – May 31, 1971 — Education Code
    Enacted by HB 534, 61st R.S.(1969) and HB 1657, 62nd R.S. (1971).
  • January 14, 1969 – May 28, 1973 — Family Code
    Enacted by HB 53, 61st R.S.(1969) and SB 168, 63rd R.S.(1973).
  • January 14, 1971 – June 2, 1971 — Water Code
    Enacted by HB 343, 62nd R.S.(1971). Based on Proposed Water Code created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 9, 1973 – May 28, 1973 — Penal Code
    Enacted by SB 34, 63rd R.S.(1973). Based on the work of the State Bar's Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 14, 1975 – June 2, 1975 — Parks and Wildlife Code
    Enacted by HB 1186, 64th R.S.(1975). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 11, 1977 – May 30, 1977 — Alcoholic Beverage Code
    Enacted by HB 815, 65th R.S. (1977). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 11, 1977 – May 30, 1977 — Natural Resources Code
    Enacted by SB 1207, 65th R.S. (1977). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • August 1, 1977 — Braden's analysis
    The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated Comparative Analysis by George D. Braden, et. al. was begun in 1972 as part of the constitutional revision process approved by voters. It provides information about the history, development and meaning of the Texas Constitution, along with comparative commentary.
  • January 9, 1979 – May 28, 1979 — Human Resources Code
    Enacted by HB 1834, 66th R.S.(1979) based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 9, 1979 – June 1, 1981 — Tax Code
    Enacted by SB 621, 66th R.S.(1979) , HB 1708, 67th R.S.(1981) and SB888, 70th R.S.(1987). The titles related to state and local taxation where based on Revisor's Report prepared by the Texas Legislative Council. The Property Tax Code was a substantive revision.
  • January 13, 1981 – June 1, 1981 — Agriculture Code
    Enacted by HB 1436, 67th R.S. (1981). Based on Revisor's Report prepared by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 11, 1983 – May 30, 1983 — Property Code
    Enacted by SB 748, 68th R.S.(1983). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 8, 1985 – May 27, 1985 — Civil Practice and Remedies Code
    Enacted by SB 797, 69th R.S. (1985). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 8, 1985 – May 31, 1999 — Government Code
    Enacted by:
    Judicial Branch - SB 1228, 69th R.S.(1985)
    Legislative Branch - SB 813, 69th R.S.(1985)
    Executive Branch - SB 894, 70th R.S.(1987)
    Public Retirement Systems - SB 1045, 71st R.S.(1989)
    Intergovernmental Relations - SB 448, 72nd R.S.(1991)
    Open Government and Ethics, Public Officers and Employees and General Government - SB 248, 73rd R.S.(1993)
    State Purchasing - SB 958, 74th R.S.(1995)
    Public Securities - HB 3157, 76th R.S.(1999)
    Based on Revisor's Reports prepared by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 8, 1985 – May 27, 1985 — Election Code
    Enacted by SB 616, 69th R.S. (1985), based on the Report of the Election Code Study Committee
  • January 13, 1987 – June 1, 1987 — Local Government Code
    Enacted by SB 896, 70th R.S. (1987). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 10, 1989 – May 27, 1991 — Health and Safety Code
    Enacted by HB 2136, 71st R.S.(1989) and HB 902, 72nd R.S.(1991). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 12, 1993 – May 31, 1993 — Labor Code
    Enacted by HB 752, 73rd R.S.(1993). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 8, 1995 – May 27, 1995 — Transportation Code
    Enacted by SB 971, 74th R.S.(1995). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 14, 1997 – June 2, 1997 — Finance Code
    Enacted by HB 10, 75th R.S. (1997). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 14, 1997 – June 2, 1997 — Utilities Code
    Enacted by SB 1751, 75th R.S.(1997) based on the Revisor's Reports prepared by the Texas Legislative Council..
  • January 12, 1999 – June 1, 2009 — Insurance Code
    Enacted by:
    SB 1467, 76th R.S.(1999)
    HB 2811, 77th R.S.(2001)
    HB 2922, 78th R.S.(2003)
    HB 2017, 79th R.S. (2005)
    HB 2636, 80th R.S. (2007)
    Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 12, 1999 – May 28, 2001 — Occupations Code
    Enacted by HB 3155, 76th R.S.(1999) and HB 2813, 77th R.S.(2001). Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 14, 2003 – June 2, 2003 — Business Organizations Code
    Enacted by HB 1156, 78th R.S. (2003). Based on Revisor's Reports prepared by the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
  • January 14, 2003 – June 1, 2019 — Special Districts Local Laws Code
    Enacted by HB 3508, 78th R.S.(2003), HB 2019, 79th R.S.(2005)HB 3166, 80th R.S.(2007)HB 2619, 81st R.S.(2009)SB 1147, 82nd R.S.(2011)SB 1026, 83rd R.S.(2013)SB 1162, 84th R.S.(2015), and HB 2803, 85th R.S.(2017) Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 13, 2009 – June 1, 2011 — Estates Code
    Enacted by HB 2502, 81st R.S.(2009) and HB 2759, 82nd R.S.(2011), Based on Revisor's Reports created by the Texas Legislative Council.
  • January 13, 2009 – June 1, 2009 — Railroad Laws
    SB1540, 81st R.S.(2009), based on a Revisor's Report created by the Texas Legislative Council, transferred provisions of Title 112, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes, to the Transportation Code. Title 112 was not included in the original codification of the Transportation Code in 1995 because many of the statutes were preempted by federal law or otherwise obsolete. HB No 3711, 80th R.S.(2007), was a substantive bill that repealed the obsolete statutes, clearing the way for the codification of the remaining provisions of Title 112 in Title 5, Transportation Code.

The United States Code (U.S.C.) is the official version of the codified federal statutes.  There are two unofficial, annotated, versions of the Code that are published by commercial vendors:  United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) and United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.).  In general, the annotated versions incorporate useful research tools, such as indexes, citations to cases, name tables, etc., and are updated more quickly.  Unless you are verifying or writing official Bluebook-conforming citations for a law review article or other scholarly work, it is recommended that you use the annotated codes.  The USCA is available on Westlaw; the USCS is available on Lexis.  You can also view the official U.S. Code online on FDSys.

A citation of a federal statute contains four pieces of information:

  1. Title
  2. Source
  3. Section
  4. Date

For example, in the citation for the statute 18 U.S.C. § 115 (2006 & Supp. I 2007),

  1. "18" is the Title of the United States Code. Title 18 covers the topic of Crimes and Criminal Procedure.
  2. "U.S.C." is the abbreviation for the official version of the United States Code. For the unofficial annotated versions, use the same citation system with their abbreviations substituted for the official "U.S.C." abbreviation (e.g., "U.S.C.A.").
  3. "§ 115" is the section of Title 18 in which the text of the relevant statute can be found. Section 115 makes influencing, impediing, or retalitating against a Federal official by threatening or injuring a family member a crime and provides its punishment.
  4. "2006 and Supp. I 2007" indicate the publication date of the United States Code volumes in which the text of the statute was found. "2006" is the date of the official bound volume containing the text of the statute. "Supp. I 2007" indicates the number and date of the supplement that contains amendments to the text of the statute since the 2006 edition of the Code was published.  The commercial editions (USCA and USCS) have their own copyright and publication dates for their bound volumes and pocket parts, which are usually different than the publication dates of the U.S.C. volumes and supplements.

If you are conducting your research with USCA or USCS, you may need to ascertain the location of the statute within the U.S.C. and its supplements in order to write a Bluebook-conforming citation.

Location for the USC, USCA, and USCS: Second floor, Stack 211