Legislative Working Files

Legislative files provide evidence of the responsibilities and activities of Texas State legislators and legislative committees and enable the citizens of Texas to hold their elected representatives accountable. The records can include correspondence, memoranda, committee hearing and background files, legislative bill files, press releases, speeches, subject/research files, news clippings, reports, publications, schedules, legal documents, notes, newsletters, photographic media, and audio, video, and electronic media collected, created, or maintained in the course of conducting public business during the legislators' terms of office. (The Library and Archives Commission lacks the resources to maintain archival records in electronic form. If a series of electronic records is archival and it can be printed on alkaline paper or output to microfilm without loss of information, the paper or film can be transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division. If it is not possible or feasible to output an electronic record to paper or film, the House or the Senate must maintain the records and the hardware and software needed to access the records as well as migrate the records to new hardware and software environments to provide continued access in the future.)

  • Correspondence consists of letters and attachments passing between the legislators (and their staff) and state, federal and local officials and employees, state and federal agencies, private and non-profit organizations, citizens of Texas, and the public at large. The correspondence may respond to legislative requests for information, request assistance from a legislator, or concern or express opinions regarding proposed, or pending, legislation or state, local, or national issues.
  • Bill files consist of the legislative bills and supporting materials, including bill drafts, fiscal notes, bill summaries and histories, routing and tracking forms, correspondence, memoranda, press releases, documentation of committee consideration, and other relevant materials, that document the legislation written and/or sponsored by legislators.
  • Committee and council membership files document the hearings, meetings, and research of legislative committees, interim and joint committees, committees of the whole, and other commission or council boards on which legislators serve. Materials can include minutes, agenda, testimony, bill files, research/subject files, reports and studies, correspondence, memoranda, speeches, and press releases.
  • General subject files (also known as research, working, or issue files) contain background material on subjects of interest to legislators and may form the basis for the proposal of legislation or work on committees, councils, or commissions.
  • District files include records concerning or created/maintained in district offices regarding matters of local district importance. Some legislators maintain a separate series of district files; others integrate district materials into their broader correspondence and subject files.
  • General office files can include, when not present as separate series elsewhere, speeches, photographs, press releases, schedules and scheduling arrangements, biographical files, office policies and procedures, general reference materials, and manuals. The convenience copies of personnel and travel expenditure records maintained by legislators are not archival and should not be sent to the State Archives.

The campaign files of legislators are considered personal records and are not collected by the State Archives.

Page last modified: August 2, 2011