Sine Die: 88th Regular Legislative Session Ends
May 25, 2023
The 88th Texas Legislative Regular Session began on January 10th and concludes on Monday, May 29th. Now what? Here’s a look at what happens next.
You may hear the term "sine die" used in reference to the last day of the legislative session, but what does it mean? The Texas Legislative Council’s glossary gives the following definition:
A Latin term meaning “without day” that is used to signify the final adjournment of a session of a legislative body. The body adjourns sine die when it adjourns without appointing a day on which to appear or assemble again.
Not sure how to pronounce "sine die?" A 2019 Dallas Morning News article states that "two pronunciations are considered correct: SIGH-nee DIE-ee or SI-nay DEE-ay."
Texas legislators have spent the last several months introducing, debating, and voting on hundreds of bills.
As the end of the session nears, the House and Senate attempt to wrap up any pending legislation. See the Legislative Reference Library’s Dates of Interest for a full breakdown of deadlines in the last days of the session.
In the final 24 hours, the Texas House and Senate can only consider corrections to existing bills. See Texas House Rule 8, Section 13(f) and Texas Senate Rule 7.25 for more details.
The Governor’s Veto Power
All bills passed in the House and Senate must go through the Office of the Texas Governor before they can become law. Governor Greg Abbott has until Sunday, June 18th to sign or veto any bills sent to him within the last ten days of the session.
Bills that are not vetoed by the governor become law, even if he does not sign them. The Legislature can also override the governor’s veto on a bill if it receives a two-thirds affirmative vote from both houses. See Article 4, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution for the law on the governor’s veto power.
The 88th Legislature may not be finished just yet. If the session is over but the governor feels that there are still issues to be addressed, the governor can call a special session to address one or more specific subjects. Only bills on the selected topics can be introduced, considered, and voted on during these sessions.
These special sessions, or "called" sessions can only last up to 30 days, but there are no limits on the number of special sessions the governor can call. See Article 3, Section 40 of the Texas Constitution for more details.
Update: Governor Abbott announced that there will be several special sessions called during the 88th session. The agenda for the first session, which begins on Monday, May 29th, will focus on property taxes and border security.
Finding New Legislation
The General Reports section of Texas Legislature Online continues to be the most reliable place to see which bills have made it to the final stages. Here you can browse lists of bills in different categories:
- Bills passed by the House and Senate
- By status, including bills:
- By effective date, including bills effective:
Of course, these lists are changing and evolving as the session winds down. Be sure to check back for updates after the session ends.
After the session ends, many newspapers, nonprofits, and professional organizations publish legislative summaries that break down that session’s successes and failures. The library keeps a list of these recaps on the Legislative Recaps section of our website.
The summaries tend to trickle in slowly, so look for our roundup sometime later this summer.
We covered a few resources for legislative research on our previous Spotlight post at the beginning of the session, but here are a few highlights.
To learn more about the Texas legislative process, please see the Texas Senate's Citizen Handbook: How the Texas Legislature Works. For more in-depth information, the Texas Legislative Council’s guide The Legislative Process in Texas provides an excellent detailed description.
Researchers interested in current and past legislative sessions will find the Legislative Reference Library of Texas an invaluable resource. It offers a variety of information and reports, including bill status, session calendars, legislator directories, bill archive, and FAQs.
We're always happy to help with your legal research-related questions. You can submit your request online or call us through our Ask a Librarian service.
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