Library Spotlight

The library's blog featuring legal resources, news, and updates on Texas law.


Celebrating Veterans Day on November 11th

November 10, 2022

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Friday, November 11th is Veterans Day! In honor of our Texas veterans, we’d like to point out some legal resources available especially for veterans.

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In-Person Voting in the November 8th Election

November 3, 2022

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Voters are heading to the polls to cast their vote in the November 8th election! Here is a brief primer on what to know when casting your vote.

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Voting by Mail in the November 8th Election

October 25, 2022

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Voting by mail is an option available to certain qualified voters in Texas. The law allows voting by mail if a voter has a sickness or physical condition that prevents them from appearing at the polls on Election Day. Others who may vote by mail include people aged 65 or over, people who expect to be absent from their county during the voting period, certain pregnant voters, certain jailed voters, and a few other limited categories. Read on for more details!

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SLL Celebrates 50 Years in the Federal Depository Library Program

October 19, 2022

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Since October 20, 1972, the State Law Library has participated in the Federal Depository Library Program. We are excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary of making federal government documents available freely to the public! Read on to learn more about the FDLP and the types of federal government documents available at our library.

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Voting Eligibility & Registration for the November 8th Election

October 7, 2022

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The November 8th election is fast approaching, so we thought we'd cover eligibility and registration procedures for voting in Texas elections. You can also check out our research guide to Voting in Texas

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Constitution Day 2022

September 14, 2022

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Happy Constitution Day! Constitution Day is celebrated each year on September 17th, the date the United States Constitution was signed in 1787. Arguably the most famous legal document in American history, the Constitution forms the basis of U.S. federal law. It outlines the three branches of the federal government, the relationships between the U.S. States, the process for amending the Constitution, and the rights of the citizens of this country.

You can read the full text of the Constitution and explanations of each article and amendment online at the Constitution Annotated, a project from the Library of Congress and the Congressional Research Service.

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"In a Nutshell" Titles at the State Law Library

August 16, 2022

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Need a crash course in an area of law you aren't familiar with? Consider reading an "In a Nutshell" title to get acquainted with the basics. These brief titles available in West Academic give a succinct overview of a legal topic's background, major legislation, significant cases, and terminology. The Nutshell series is a great option for lawyers, students, or anyone searching for a quick introduction to a broad legal subject.

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Texas Abortion "Trigger" Law Effective August 25th, 2022

July 27, 2022

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The Texas abortion "trigger law" will be effective on August 25th, 2022. This law will prohibit almost all abortions. It also sets out civil, criminal, and professional penalties for abortion providers who violate the law.

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Does my landlord have to provide air conditioning or repair my A/C unit?

July 11, 2022

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Temperatures are reaching historic highs across Texas this week, and many tenants may wonder if their landlord is responsible for providing air conditioning in their homes. See our Legal FAQ on this topic, Does my landlord have to provide air conditioning or repair my A/C unit?

State landlord/tenant laws do not explicitly require landlords to provide air conditioning for their tenants. However, the landlord may be required to protect their tenant against extreme temperatures in the lease agreement or elsewhere in the law. 

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Accessing Continuing Legal Education Materials Remotely

June 29, 2022

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If you are a lawyer looking to catch up on your required Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit, why not start with our CLE materials? The library has hundreds of CLE courses from the State Bar of Texas available for remote study, and we are continuously adding new courses to our collection. Here's a bit more about how to access these titles.

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Reference Roundup: Texas Abortion Laws

June 24, 2022

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Abortion laws have been in the news recently because the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision about abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24th, 2022. The court’s decision overruled Roe v. Wade and allows states to prohibit abortions. Texas is one of several states that passed "trigger" laws recently that would criminalize abortion if Roe v. Wade were overruled. 

Since Roe v. Wade, the Texas Legislature has enacted laws that restrict or regulate abortion in different ways. Texans may have questions about how these laws affect abortion in Texas, especially in light of the new ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. We've created several Legal FAQs on abortion that may help answer some of these questions.

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Happy Pride Month!

June 21, 2022

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June is LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) Pride Month! Originally celebrated as Gay Pride Day on the last Sunday in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, Pride Month gradually became a month-long event. For more background information, we recommend the Library of Congress's brief but excellent write-up of the history of Pride Month and the Stonewall Uprising.

At the State Law Library, we believe that everyone is entitled to equal justice under the law! In honor of Pride Month, here are a few titles and resources in the library's collection on LGBTQ law.

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Copyright & Intellectual Property Titles at the State Law Library

May 31, 2022

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The first federal copyright law went into effect on this date in 1790! Today, intellectual property is a vast area of law, with numerous federal statutes and regulations on patents, trademarks, and copyrights. To celebrate the anniversary of the first federal copyright law, here's a bit of background and a quick guide to titles in our library's collection on copyright and intellectual property.

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Texas Laws on Purchasing and Carrying Firearms

May 25, 2022

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In the wake of yesterday's horrific shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, people across Texas and the country have expressed curiosity about Texas's laws on purchasing and carrying firearms, "long guns," and handguns. Our library has compiled information on this topic that may put current events into context within the law.

Our heart goes out to the victims and those whose lives are touched by this loss. We encourage anyone affected by this tragedy to contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services' Disaster Distress helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for immediate crisis counseling. 

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Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month

May 17, 2022

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Practicing law can be incredibly stressful, and as a result members of the legal profession are particularly at risk for mental health and substance abuse issues. Fortunately, there are resources to help lawyers, judges, and law students address these issues. Here's a list of places to find help managing anxiety, depression, stress, and substance abuse. 

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Celebrating Director Dale Propp upon his retirement from the State Law Library

April 28, 2022

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The State Law Library’s Executive Director, Dale Propp, will be retiring on Friday, April 30th, after 15 years at its helm. Our current Assistant Director, Amy Small, will be taking over as Executive Director beginning on Monday, May 2nd. We'd like to take a minute to congratulate Amy and thank Dale for his leadership and service over the years. We wish both of them the best of luck in their next chapters!

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Law Day is Sunday, May 1st, 2022

April 27, 2022

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Held on May 1st, Law Day is an annual celebration of the legal profession and the rule of law in society. The theme for 2022 is "Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change." Since Law Day falls on a Sunday this year, many events and programs will be held earlier in the week. Read on for more about this year's theme, Law Day events and programs, and resources on constitutional law in the library!

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Cannabis & the Law: Legal Information on CBD, Hemp, and Recreational Cannabis

April 20, 2022

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The legal landscape for cannabis, CBD, and other cannabis-related products has changed rapidly over the past decade in the U.S. We recognize that it may be tough to navigate these changes, so Texans may want to visit our Cannabis and the Law guide to find information on Texas and federal laws on cannabis.

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Additional Funding for Texas Rent Relief

April 5, 2022

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The Texas Rent Relief Program has announced limited additional funding for rent and utility relief. At this time, TRR is not accepting new applications but will continue to process any applications already on file. If you have a pending application with TRR, you may be contacted soon via email or phone for a status update on your application.

To contact the Texas Rent Relief program, please call 1-833-9TX-RENT (1-833-989-7368).

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Legal FAQ: Are there any COVID-19 requirements for people traveling to Texas?

March 30, 2022

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We've received a lot of questions about COVID-19 restrictions from people who are planning a trip to Texas from another state or country and want to know what to expect. To address these concerns, we've updated our Legal FAQ Are there any requirements for people traveling to Texas? A previous version of this FAQ focused mainly on requirements for quarantine periods after traveling, but we've expanded it to address mandatory COVID-19 testing for international travelers arriving by air. 

The Immigration and Travel page of our COVID-19 & Texas Law guide is a great place to keep abreast of Texas and federal requirements for travelers, so be sure to check it out!

Technical Issues Affecting LIRC Titles

March 22, 2022

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We've noticed a technical issue is temporarily preventing direct access to e-books in the Legal Information Reference Center. We've reported it to EBSCO and hope that it will be resolved quickly!

Affected titles have a note with troubleshooting info in the record. If you're trying to access a particular title in LIRC and are getting an error message, click on "New Search" and search or browse for the e-book title directly.

 

A Closer Look at James Publishing Titles Available in Fastcase

March 9, 2022

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We often recommend our legal research database Fastcase to patrons looking to conduct case law research from their homes or office. Fastcase is a great choice for case law research (check out our guide to case law research if you need a crash course!), but there are a lot of other resources available in Fastcase that our patrons may not be familiar with. In particular, there's a great selection of treatises and books on a range of legal topics. We've highlighted a selection of some of the treatises available remotely from James Publishing through Fastcase.

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The library will reopen its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 1st

February 25, 2022

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After a temporary closure due to rising COVID-19 cases in Travis County, the library will be reopening its physical location to the public on Tuesday, March 1st. Thank you for your patience during the past two months! If you plan on visiting the library in person, please take a moment to review our library policies.

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Reference Roundup: COVID-19 Testing

February 23, 2022

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We've noticed an uptick in questions from our patrons about COVID-19 testing in various situations, including employment, travel, and at businesses. Here's a look at where to find more information on COVID-19 testing and the law.

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Online Library Accounts Now Active for One Year

February 14, 2022

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After listening to your requests for less frequent account renewals, we are pleased to announce that we have extended the length of time online library accounts are active from 6 months to one year! Now, all library patrons will enjoy a full year of library access before their account expires. You can find this change reflected in our library use policy and our registration and renewal pages.

We've updated all of our patrons' renewal dates in our system, so there's no need to do anything on your end. We've also reached out to anyone who may have received a renewal email recently to let them know about our newly updated policy.

Thank you for your feedback, and feel free to let us know if you have any questions about this change. We love hearing your suggestions on ways we can serve you better, so please let us know your thoughts by filling out our patron satisfaction survey!