The Calendars Committee has thirty days after receiving a bill to vote on placing the bill on one of the three legislative calendars for floor consideration. After this period, any member of the House can make a motion on the floor to place the bill on a specific calendar. If seconded by five members and passed by majority vote, the bill may be scheduled for floor action. This procedure is rarely undertaken.
When the bill comes up for consideration on the floor as scheduled, it is given the second reading (usually limited to reading only the caption). After debate (typically limited to ten minutes for each speaker) and amendment, a vote is taken for tentative approval.
After all the debate and amendments, the bill is ready for its third reading. Amendments may still be offered, but these require a two-thirds majority approval at this point. A simple majority is needed to pass the final version of the bill.
To do this the sponsor of the bill or a member of the reporting committee must get recognition from the President of the Senate (the Lieutenant Governor) to make a motion to take up a bill outside of the Intent Calendar order. Two-thirds of the members who choose to vote must approve such an action.
If the bill is taken up by the Senate, it is given its second reading, at which point it is opened for debate and amendment. As in the U.S. Senate, there is a tradition in the Texas Senate that permits members to speak for as long as they wish (or otherwise can physically sustain). When members try to kill a bill by "talking it to death" and using up so much time that the rest of the Senate agrees to move on, this is known as a filibuster.
If the bill is approved on the second reading, it is ready for its third reading and, ultimately, final approval. As in the House, amendments are allowed at this point and require a two-thirds majority vote of members present.
Although the Texas Constitution requires that a bill receive each of its three readings on three separate days, this rule can be suspended by a four-fifths vote of members present. Though the House rarely uses this motion, it is routinely used in the Senate to pass non-controversial legislation, particularly toward the end of a legislative session.