The library's blog featuring legal resources, news, and updates on Texas law.
New Executive Orders and Regulations on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements
October 20, 2021
There are several recent executive orders and regulations on COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Governor Abbott recently issued Executive Order GA-40, which bans any entity in Texas from requiring COVID-19 vaccines. President Biden has also issued several federal executive orders and proposed federal regulations. They require COVID-19 vaccines for certain federal workers, federal contractors, and private employees.
We've heard from patrons who are confused about how these new orders may affect their work situations. To address this, we've created a new COVID-19 Vaccine Laws page with detailed information about the new orders and regulations. You can find it on our COVID-19 & Texas Law guide.
You may also want to review our Legal FAQs on the subject of vaccine requirements in various situations: Can my employer require me to get a COVID-19 vaccine? and Can I be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a “vaccine passport?”
Are abortions banned in Texas? Understanding Senate Bill 8
October 7, 2021
Senate Bill 8 (sometimes called the Texas Heartbeat Bill) is a new state law that bars physicians from performing abortions after the detection of a "fetal heartbeat." The law went into effect on September 1st, 2021. We break down the details of this new law on our Legal FAQ on the topic, "Are abortions banned in Texas?"
SB 8 has received intensive news coverage nationwide and is currently facing legal challenges in court. Presently, a U.S. District Judge has temporarily blocked the new law while the case proceeds through the federal court, and Texas has indicated that they will appeal at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Update: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of the judge's injunction on October 14th. This reinstates the new law while the case is being appealed.
Happy Constitution Day!
September 17, 2021
September 17th is Constitution Day! On this day in 1787, the United States constitution was signed in Philadelphia by members of the Constitutional Convention. The constitution established the structure and operation of the United States government by outlining the three branches of the federal government, clarifying the federal government's relationship to the states, and explaining the amendment and ratification process.
The SLL is proud to be a part of the network of federal depository libraries across the country, and we're excited to celebrate our free access to government documents from all three branches of government on this historic day. Courtesy of the U.S. Government Publishing Office, we will have free pocket constitutions and promotional pencils available in the library for those who would like to celebrate with us in person. Be sure to ask at the desk!
Do I need a license to carry a handgun in Texas?
September 2, 2021
Many Texans have heard that a new bill allows people to carry a handgun without a license in Texas, but aren't clear on the specifics. The bill in question is House Bill 1927, which went into effect on September 1st. While the bill does allow certain individuals to carry a handgun without a license, it does not extend this option to everyone.
How to Find New Texas Laws in Effect September 1st
August 31, 2021
New laws often take effect on September 1st after a legislative session ends. This year 666 bills were passed during the 87th Regular Session that go into effect on the 1st of September. Here's a quick primer on how to find these new Texas laws and a look at several new laws that have been in the news lately.
US Supreme Court Strikes Down CDC Eviction Moratorium
August 27, 2021
The United States Supreme Court has issued a ruling [PDF] striking down the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's nationwide moratorium [PDF] on evictions of residential tenants in counties with high levels of COVID-19 transmission. The CDC's order was set to expire on October 3rd but is no longer enforceable after the Supreme Court's ruling. This is a developing story, and we'll update you with any additional information that may affect Texas tenants.
Tenants who were previously protected under the CDC moratorium from evictions due to nonpayment may now be at risk of eviction. If you're facing eviction or think you may be at risk of an eviction suit in the future, you may want to review our resources for finding help and information on the eviction.
87th Legislative Session Recaps Now Available!
August 20, 2021
The legislative recaps for the 87th Texas legislative session are now available on our site! After each session concludes, many news organizations, nonprofits, state agencies, and other organizations publish summaries of how the new legislation affects various issues. It's a great way to sift through bills you may have missed and get an overview of the successes and failures of each session. This collection also includes recaps of previous sessions, starting with the 83rd session in 2013.
We will update this page as new recaps are published, so be sure to check back!
New CDC Order Offers Temporary Protection From Evictions Through October 3rd
August 4, 2021
Note: The CDC order has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as of August 26th, 2021. Please see our Spotlight post on the Supreme Court's ruling for more info.
On August 3rd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new order that offers protection from evictions for nonpayment of rent for tenants who meet certain qualifications. This order is active in counties with "heightened levels of community transmission" and is intended to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the new Delta variant. The order is effective through October 3rd, 2021, and has the potential to be revised or extended past this date.
The CDC Eviction Moratorium Ends on Saturday, July 31st
July 27, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agency order that halts certain types of residential evictions [PDF] is set to expire on Saturday, July 31st, 2021. The Order has been extended several times since it went into effect in September 2020, but the CDC has indicated that they will not extend it again.
Tenants who have been protected from eviction by the CDC Order should be aware that their landlord may file for eviction against them after this protection expires at the end of the month. Read on for more information on the CDC Order's expiration, the eviction process, and where to find help.
Complimentary Access to Lexis Advance Ending July 30th
July 1, 2021
Happy Pride Month!
June 28, 2021
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month! Pride is celebrated in June each year to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising on June 28th, 1969. The State Law Library has several different resources that can help you research LGBTQ issues and the law - check out our LGBT Law research guide and find titles in our Digital Collection that focus specifically on LGBTQ issues.
As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have! Happy Pride!
CDC Order Extended Through July 31st, 2021
June 24, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agency order that halts certain types of residential evictions was recently extended through July 31st, 2021. The order was originally set to expire at the end of March of 2021. Read the updated order on the CDC's website [PDF].
You can find an overview of the CDC order on the Eviction page of our COVID-19 and Texas Law guide. This page also includes links to sample forms, information on who this order protects, and other resources that help explain how the CDC order protects tenants from evictions.
Juneteenth Now a Federal Holiday
June 18, 2021
Celebrated on June 19th, Juneteenth (sometimes called Emancipation Day) marks the end of slavery in Texas and the rest of the United States. June 19th is now a federally recognized holiday after President Biden signed Senate Bill 475 into law on June 17th, 2021. You can view the text of S.475 on Congress.gov.
Last year we wrote about the Texas Supreme Court cases that establish Juneteenth as the legal end of slavery. Find our post about Juneteenth here, and have a happy Juneteenth!
Do I have to quarantine if I travel to Texas?
June 14, 2021
We've heard from a lot of travelers who want to know what COVID-19 requirements they'll face once they arrive in Texas. Currently, there are no quarantine requirements in place for interstate and international travelers once they arrive in Texas, although the CDC recommends a 7-10 day quarantine period for those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination.
International travelers to the U.S must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of recovery. See our new FAQ on this subject for more info.
Happy 50th Birthday, SLL!
June 8, 2021
Today is the State Law Library's 50th birthday! Formerly the library of the Texas Supreme Court, on June 8th, 1971, the State Law Library became an independent state agency. We have a long and storied history, and we're happy to share our past, present, and future with you! Here's to another 50 years!
1914–1922 Historical Statutes Now Available!
June 4, 2021
Can a business require me to wear a mask? I thought the mask mandate was over.
June 1, 2021
We've had a lot of questions from people wondering why some businesses are still requiring masks if the statewide mask mandate is over, and we've created a Legal FAQ on the subject to help address this question. Private businesses still have the right to require masks for customers and employees, but most state and local government entities can no longer do so.
SLL will reopen its doors to the public on Tuesday, June 1st
May 17, 2021
We are happy to announce that the State Law Library will reopen its physical location to the public beginning on June 1st, 2021! After months of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and damage from the February storm, we're excited to assist your legal research needs in person again. Please read through our library's reopening policies for information on how we can best assist you during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chat Pilot Program Ends on May 28th
May 17, 2021
Our chat pilot program comes to a close this month. After Friday, May 28th, our chat reference service will no longer be available, although you can still reach us via phone or by email as always. We'd like to thank our friends at the Harris County Robert W. Hainsworth Law Library for their dedication and teamwork while assisting with our chat program, and we look forward to debuting a new system answering questions via text messages in the near future. Keep an eye out for that announcement soon!
Happy Law Day from SLL!
April 30, 2021
Updates to the Texas Rent Relief Program Go Into Effect Today
April 21, 2021
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) has made some changes to the Texas Rent Relief Program in order to make the application and payout process easier. These changes go into effect on April 21st, 2021. Read on for a look at these new changes, and visit our Rent and Legal Assistance page on the COVID-19 & Texas Law guide for more information.
CDC Order Extended Through June 30th, 2021
March 29, 2021
Happy Freedom of Information Day from SLL!
March 16, 2021
Today, March 16th, is Freedom of Information Day! Do you know how to make a public records request? Read on for more information on Texas and federal laws that help protect the public's access to government information.
Last Day for Filed Bills in 87th Legislative Session
March 12, 2021
It's the 60th day of the 87th Texas legislative session, which means that with the exception of local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the governor, today, March 12th, 2021, is the final day for bills to be filed.
Texas' Mask Mandate Ends Today. What Does This Mean For Texans?
March 10, 2021
Since early July of 2020, Texans have been required to wear a face mask in most public places due to an executive order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott [PDF]. That order has been rescinded, and a new executive order that ends the mask requirement in Texas (with some exceptions, of course) goes into effect today, March 10th, 2021. Here are a few takeaways from the new order.