Texas residents are subject to Texas state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in Texas as they do across all 50 states. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. You can explore federal laws and related resources by visiting the federal law section of the Justia site.
The state of Texas also has its own state laws. Texas state laws include the Texas Constitution, laws passed by the Texas legislature and periodically codified in the Texas Statutes, and decisions by courts that interpret Texas laws.
Effective since 1876, the Texas Constitution is the seventh version of this document and the fifth that was created since Texas became a state. It has been amended several hundred times since it took effect. Article 17 provides the process for amending the Constitution, which requires a two-thirds vote by each chamber of the legislature in favor of an amendment. The proposed amendment then will appear on a ballot. If voters reject the amendment, the legislature may propose it again on a later ballot. Proposed amendments have been approved at a rate of nearly 75 percent. The legislature may call a special election to consider a proposed amendment if requirements regarding notice and publication can be met.
The Texas Statutes contain the laws passed by the Texas legislature. These laws and the provisions of the Texas Constitution are often interpreted by the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the highest court in Texas for criminal cases), and the 14 Texas Courts of Appeals. Four federal district courts in Texas also issue decisions that may affect Texas residents. These are the Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern District Courts of Texas. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by federal district courts in Texas. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Fifth Circuit or from the Texas Supreme Court or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.