FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2010
Without a highly functional legislative agency, we legislators could not perform our duties nearly as well to serve Texans as we should.
The Texas Legislative Council (TLC) , to which I was appointed on Feb. 26 this year by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as one of its 14-member legislative governing board members, is such an agency.
The purpose of the board is to provide strategic instructions and guidance to the council staff to ensure that everything operates efficiently, and that the demands of the Legislature, our state agencies and the public are met.
The staff members of the TLC provide bill drafting, computing, research, publishing and document distribution services to the Texas Legislature and legislative agencies.
The skilled technicians maintain our technology that helps us communicate both externally with our districts and internally. They offer us support, training and solutions to our technological needs.
When a legislator of either Chamber wants to write a bill, the TLC's impressive legal division that includes attorneys, legal assistants, editors and support staff assists in preparing the documents for filing. This is a tremendous asset to our offices that may not have attorneys or the attorney lacks the expertise for a particular subject.
The lawyers, who are each assigned to specific issues, not only prepare bills, but perform the research to ensure that a legal, accurate and comprehensive draft is provided to the requestor.
Another major component of the TLC is the research division that provides a wealth of information on issues critical to the well-being of this state. Closely aligned with these divisions is the policy and planning division that helps the agency run at an optimum level together with the administration division.
What is of most interest to the average citizen is the Texas Legislature Online operated by the TLC that can be accessed through our web site http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/ allowing the public to read bills, track their progress, as well as view a bill's history, analysis, fiscal notes and summaries. Information as to what committee each bill is assigned and who the witnesses that testify for, on or against each piece of legislation are is readily available.
Besides bills, the site also permits a person to search for the Texas Constitution and statutes. One of the TLC's chief priorities is the constitutionally mandated re-codifications of the state's statutes. While we cannot change the intent of the law, the revisions make it easier for the public and the members of the legal profession to use the statutes.
Another feature of the web site is that people can search to see who represents them both at the federal and state levels, and their contact information.
There is even a link that explains in detail how to properly contact a legislator, which is most useful for advocates and students of all levels.
Also available on the web site are Capitol events ranging from student performances in the rotunda to press conferences. Also available is the ability to track information on redistricting, which we will address during the upcoming 82nd Legislative Session beginning next January.
The TLC maintains another link that explains the legislative process, along with information on the legislative reference library housed in the Capitol, as well as an alphabetically arranged glossary of every legislative term and its meaning to help a person better navigate through the system.
I welcome young and old alike to log onto the internet and search these sites. to become familiar, or more familiar for those who already are, with the legislative process.
I feel privileged, as a member of the Texas Legislative Council, to be an integral part of an agency that provides so many services and talent to all of Texas.
As always, if you have any input or questions regarding these or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doris Sanchez, my Communications Director, 512-463-0385.