• November 29, 2010



PRE-FILING IS UNDER WAY (PART II) 150 150 Elect Todd Hunter


In last week’s article, I began outlining several of the bills which were filed within of the pre-filing period. The 82nd legislative session’s pre-filing period officially commenced on November 8th. It is important to remember that unlike our counterparts in Washington D.C., the Texas Legislature meets for only 140 days in every odd-numbered year. The established pre-filing period allows the legislature the opportunity to hit the ground running at the beginning of the session, which starts on January 11 of next year. This week I would like to outline a number of the joint resolutions which have been pre-filed in the House and in the Senate.

Joint resolutions are slightly different than the regular House Bills and Senate Bills. A joint resolution is a type of legislative measure that requires passage by both chambers of the legislature but does not require action by the governor. A joint resolution is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, to ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or to request a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas. The joint resolutions are regularly referred to as a House Joint Resolution (HJR) or a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR). The classification of the bill is dependent upon which chamber of the Texas Legislature the bill is filed.

In the first week of pre-filing a combined total of 48 HJRs and SJRs were filed. Below is a cross-section of those bills:

• HJR 18 is a proposed constitutional amendment which would require that any increase in a franchise tax rate to approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to each house of the legislature.
• HJR 23 is proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran in an amount equal to the exemption to which the disabled veteran was entitled.
• HJR 28 is a proposed constitutional amendment which would require the legislature to establish a state gaming commission and to authorize and provide for the regulation of gaming conducted at certain locations in this state, and requiring the governor to call the legislature into special session to consider gaming legislation.
• HJR 35 is proposing a constitutional amendment which would abolish the court of criminal appeals and establish one supreme court with civil and criminal jurisdiction.
• SJR 7 is a proposed constitutional amendment which would authorize the legislature to set a lower limit on the maximum appraised value of a residence homestead for ad valorem taxation.
• SJR 8 is proposing a constitutional amendment to limit the purposes for which revenues from motor vehicle registration fees, taxes on motor fuels and lubricants, and certain revenues received from the federal government may be used.
• SJR 10 would serve as a request to the Congress of the United States to call a convention to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to require a balanced federal budget.

The aforementioned HJRs and SJRs are just a handful of the joint resolutions which have been pre-filed. The complete list of pre-filed bills for the 82nd (R) legislative session are available for public view at www.capitol.state.tx.us. If you have questions or comments regarding any of the pre-filed bills mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).