TABLE OF CONTENTS
Texas Legislature, House of Representatives:
An Inventory of House of Representatives Recordings at the Texas State Archives, 1962, 1973, 1975-1979, 1981-1984
The Texas House of Representatives is one arm of the Legislature of the State of Texas (the other being the Texas Senate), which the Texas Constitution (Article III, Section 1) vests with all legislative power of the state. The primary legislative power is enacting laws, and the most visible function of the legislature is to make public policy through drafting, considering, and passing bills and resolutions. Biennially, the House of Representatives elects a speaker from its membership to serve as its presiding officer. The House of Representatives consists of 150 representatives elected in even-numbered years for two-year terms. A representative must be at least 21 years old, a qualified voter, and a resident of Texas for at least two years and of the district represented for at least one year immediately preceding election.
In addition to legislative powers, the legislature exercises other types of authority. Constituent powers include the ability to alter the state constitution and the members' authority to exercise powers of attorney in behalf of their constituents. Directory and supervisory powers allow the legislature to regulate the state's administrative machinery, made up of boards, commissions, and departments that conduct the affairs of state. The legislature establishes and funds these bodies and defines their functions. Executive powers of each house include selection of legislative officers, employees, and chairs and members of committees. Investigative powers are exercised through the formation of standing, special, interim, and joint committees to study an issue. House committees are usually charged with a particular purpose by the speaker, although this may also be accomplished by a resolution adopted by the house. Each legislative house holds judicial powers over its members, including punishing or expelling members for cause.
The legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years and in special sessions when convened by the governor. The length of the regular session is limited to 140 days. Special sessions are limited to 30 days, but the number of special sessions that may be called is not limited. Only legislative matters submitted by the governor may be considered in special session. All legislative sessions, except for the senate's executive session, are open. Neither house may, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days or move to a place other than where the legislature is sitting. Two-thirds of each house constitutes a quorum, the number of members required to conduct business. If a quorum is not present, a smaller number may vote to adjourn and compel absent members to attend. The house is required to keep and publish a journal of its proceedings and to record the vote on any question on which three members who are present demand an actual count of yeas and nays.
The House of Representatives functions through committees set up under its own rules. The house maintains more standing committees than the senate. By custom the speaker appoints standing, special, and conference committees, although the house is free to designate its own method of selection. Under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1961, the committee system was expanded, and provisions were made whereby standing, special, and general investigating committees created by each body could function whether or not the legislature was in session. As of 2017, the house has 38 standing committees: Agriculture and Livestock; Appropriations; Business and Industry; Calendars; Corrections; County Affairs; Criminal Jurisprudence; Culture, Recreation, and Tourism; Defense and Veterans' Affairs; Economic and Small Business Development; Elections; Energy Resources; Environmental Regulation; General Investigating and Ethics; Government Transparency and Operation; Higher Education; Homeland Security and Public Safety; House Administration; Human Services; Insurance; International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs; Investments and Financial Services; Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence; Juvenile Justice and Family Issues; Land and Resource Management; Licensing and Administrative Procedures; Local and Consent Calendars; Natural Resources; Pensions; Public Education; Public Health; Redistricting; Rules and Resolutions; Special Purpose Districts; State Affairs; Transportation; Urban Affairs; and Ways and Means.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); Legislative Reference Library of Texas, accessed September 22, 2020; and the records themselves.)
Audiotape recording of Texas House of Representatives floor debate and committee meetings began with the 63rd Legislature (1973) by Media Service in the House Service Division. Videotape recording of some committee meetings began with the 74th Legislatures (1995). Recording operations were moved to Reproduction and Media in the Financial Division in 1984, later moving to the Support Services Division in 1988. In 1994, the office became known as House Video/Audio within the Communications Division and by 1997 was part of House Business Operations. Video and audio-only recording changed to digital format by the early 2000s.
(Sources include: Capitol Complex Telephone Directory, 1973-1994. General Services Commission, Austin, Texas.)
The Texas House of Representatives is one arm of the Legislature of the State of Texas (the other being the Texas Senate), which the Texas Constitution (Article III, Section 1) vests with all legislative power of the state. Records are digital copies of the audiotape recordings and logbooks of House of Representative floor debates, with some committee proceedings included, spanning the 57th Legislature, Interim Term, and the 63rd Texas Legislature, 1st Called Session, through the 68th Legislature, 2nd Called Session, dating 1962, 1973, 1975-1979, 1981-1984. The logbooks document topics discussed by the House of Representatives corresponding with timestamps on the original audiotape recordings. These timestamps do not translate to the digitized recordings but do provide a list of subjects discussed on each tape. Items in the inventory below are recordings unless noted as logbooks.
Speakers of the house represented in the materials are James Arthur "Jimmy" Turman (57th Legislature, 1961), Price Daniel Jr. (63rd Legislature, 1973-1975), Bill Wayne Clayton (64th-67th Legislature, 1975-1983), and Gibson "Gib" D. Lewis (68th Legislature, 1983-1985). Recordings of the 57th Legislature (1962) consist of a meeting of the House Committee to Study Salt Water Pollution to the Soil and Surface Waters of Texas. This committee studied soil and surface water to determine if existing laws were adequate to control and prevent salt water pollution from man-made causes. The committee also studied funding, accountability, and enforcement tactics to address salt water pollution.
Freshman constituted a majority of the representatives for the 63rd Legislature, elected in the wake of the Sharpstown banking and stock fraud scandal and the resignation of Speaker of the House Gus F. Mutscher, after his conviction on bribery charges. Recordings for the 1st Called Session of that legislature (1973) consist of floor debate and document the charge given to authorize setting speed laws on all Texas highways at a rate consistent with national and state interests related to energy conservation, as well as discuss the Special Joint Committee on Constitutional Implementation leading up to the Constitutional Convention of 1974.
Recordings of the 64th Legislature (1975-1976) feature the organization of the House Committee on Constitutional Revision and the approval of a new constitution in the form of eight amendments (all defeated in a special election public vote); creation of the Public Utility Commission; creation of the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation through the merger of the Texas Highway Department and Texas Mass Transportation Commission; enactment of laws concerning voter registration, environmental concerns over strip-mining, medical malpractice insurance rates, and public school financing; authorization to establish health maintenance organizations; reform of the state's laws for sexual offenses; and reapportionment legislation regarding counties. Recordings consist of floor debate as well as meetings of the House Committee on Financial Institutions, Subcommittee on Bank Holding Companies, and the House Special Committee on Alternatives to Public School Financing.
Recordings of the 65th Legislature (1977-1978) feature a session-long effort to reach agreement on public school finance; enactment of teacher retirement and medical malpractice insurance legislation; changing the method of state executions from the electric chair to lethal injections; enactment of an "emergency" highway appropriation bill and the Texas Energy Development Act of 1977; the creation of a 14-member commission to revise the Texas Election Code; and the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments. Speaker Clayton also served as vice-chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee on Governmental Operations (the "Hobby-Clayton Commission"). As a result of one of the recommendations made by that interim body, which was created by the 64th Legislature in 1975, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission was created by the Texas Sunset Act (Senate Bill 54, 65th Legislature, Regular Session) in 1977. Recordings consist of floor debate as well as meetings of the House Committee on Public Education; the House Select Committee on Child Pornography, Its Related Causes and Control; and a meeting regarding amending the state constitution.
Recordings of the 66th Legislature (1979) document the implementation of the Tax Relief Amendment approved by voters in November 1978; crafting 12 joint resolutions proposing constitutional amendments to be presented to voters; and enactment of changes to probate law and public retirement systems. The 66th Legislature experienced an episode known as the "flight of the Killer Bees," in which twelve Democratic state senators broke quorum and went to Ardmore, Oklahoma, for several days, evading searches by the Texas Rangers and others, to prevent a vote on a presidential primary bill. Recordings consist of floor debate.
Recordings of the 67th Legislature (1981-1982) document the charges to repeal the state property tax, resolve funding for state-supported senior college and universities, revise the property tax code, create a water trust fund, and consider the Medical Practice Act. Recordings also document state congressional redistricting due to the arrival of U.S. Census Bureau data; enactment of the General Appropriations Act; raising interest rates on loans and credit extensions; crafting seven joint resolutions proposing constitutional amendments; enactment of legislation requiring mandatory automobile liability insurance; authorizing substitutions of generic drugs for drugs specifically prescribed; providing assistance for veterans exposed to chemical defoliants and herbicides like Agent Orange; and instituting anti-crime legislation regarding wiretapping, drug trafficking, drug sales to minors, drug paraphernalia, and aggravated rape. Recordings consist of floor debate as well as meetings of the House Committee on Regions, Compacts, and Districts; the House Special Committee to Study the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Subcommittee on Citizen Complaints Regarding Operation Procedures; and the House State Affairs Subcommittee on Animal Abuse.
Recordings of the 68th Legislature (1983-1984) document the charges to consider the state's brucellosis program, to continue the Texas Employment Commission, to make appropriations for Texas Southern University and the State Ethics Advisory Commission, to reform and fund education, and to increase highway funding with a tax bill. Recordings also document the enactment of legislation regarding payment of claims and judgments against the state; requiring smoke alarms in hotel sleeping quarters; amending the constitution to allow research, education, and promotion of food and fiber production by agricultural product producers; and prohibiting certain discriminatory practices and the denial of human rights. During the 68th legislative session, a water resources package containing several constitutional amendments passed the Texas Senate but stalled in the House. The legislature then decided to hold interim hearings on the matter and appointed the Joint Committee on Water Resources. On February 6, 1983, an electrical fire at the Capitol caused significant structural damage to the nearly century-old building. After this incident, the 68th Legislature created the State Preservation Board (68th Legislature, Regular Session) in 1983 with the passage of Senate Bill 147. The 68th Legislature also passed the Ross Perot-led education reform bill of 1984 (House Bill 72), which brought the most sweeping public education reforms in Texas history. Recordings consist of floor debate.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
Commercial use of legislatively produced audio or visual material is limited (Texas Government Code, Section 306.006).
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas House of Representatives recordings. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 2020/057
These digital audio recordings and PDF files of logbooks were created by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in 2019 and accessioned for control on June 11, 2020. They are digital copies of the original audiotape recordings and logbooks that were transferred to the Texas Legislative Reference Library by the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on December 6, 2019.
Processed by Tiffany Criswell, August 2019
DACS compliance and other revisions to description and encoding by Tiffany Criswell, August 2020
Restrictions on use updated by Tiffany Criswell, September 2020
The original open reel audiotapes and logbooks (accession 2007/010) from the 63rd through 68th Legislature were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas House of Representatives on September 14, 2006. It is unknown when the original open reel audiotapes from the 57th Legislature were transferred; they were accessioned for control on June 7, 2019 (accession 2019/122).
The audiotapes and logbooks were later transferred to the Texas Legislative Reference Library by the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on December 6, 2019. Legal and physical custody of the original audiotapes and logbooks now resides with the Legislative Reference Library. Access to the original audiotapes and logbooks must be requested through the Legislative Reference Library.
The digital audio recordings and logbooks described in this finding aid are part of the Texas Digital Archive, available online at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/legislature/house-of-representatives/#recordings.