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By W. Gardner Selby June 3, 2016

Greg Abbott says Texas legislators last year passed fewest measures into law in 20 years

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently celebrated the 2015 Texas legislative session, which ended last June, as the "most conservative ever."

Abbott, rousing delegates to the Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas, said in his May 2016 address: "As just one example, we passed the fewest laws in 20 years, proving that better government doesn’t have to be more government."

Setting aside what this proves or not, we wondered if indeed the 2015 Legislature approved the fewest pieces of legislation since 1995, 10 regular biennial sessions before.

This didn’t take long to confirm; the Texas Legislative Reference Library presents relevant bill statistics for every regular and special session since 1879. And according to the library’s compilation, the 1,280 Texas House and Senate bills that made it into law in 2015 were the fewest since 1,063 measures made it into law in 1995, the first year of Republican George W. Bush’s tenure.

Over the two decades, the next-lowest count of bills passed into law was 1,334 in 2003, followed by 1,354 in 2011 and 1,369 in 2005, according to the library.

A few earlier sessions had low law counts (though, of course, Abbott’s claim didn’t reach to these years). Those 140-day sessions occurred in 1983 (1,092 bills-into-law); 1985 (979 bills-into-law); 1989 (1,264 bills-into-law); 1991 (924 bills-into-law); and 1993 (1,050 bills-into-law), according to the library.

For this check, we didn’t count other indicators of legislative activity such as proposed constitutional amendments, which lawmakers place before voters (without a governor’s say).

Our ruling

Abbott said the 2015 Legislature "passed the fewest laws in 20 years."

So it did, making this statement True.

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing. Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

Our Sources

Web page, "Bill statistics," Texas Legislative Reference Library (accessed June 1, 2016)

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by W. Gardner Selby

Greg Abbott says Texas legislators last year passed fewest measures into law in 20 years

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