Library Spotlight

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


Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month

May 17, 2022

Feature


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

News


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

News


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

News


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

News


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

Roundup


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

News


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!

Black History Month at SLL

February 8, 2022

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February is Black History Month! Each year, institutions around the country celebrate the important contributions of Black Americans to the history and culture of the United States. Below is a brief roundup of materials on Black History Month, race, and social justice online and from our library's collection. Happy Black History Month!

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A Closer Look at HeinOnline's Subject Compilations of State Laws Database

January 27, 2022

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In recent years, we've beefed up our remote offerings in order to better serve legal researchers in all corners of Texas. You may be familiar with our popular remote legal databases like Fastcase or AILALink, but we have so much more to offer! We thought we'd take the opportunity to highlight several resources available from the library that you may not know about, so be on the lookout for more Spotlight posts about these resources in the future.

One such resource is HeinOnline's Subject Compilations of State Laws database, a resource indispensable to anyone interested in researching how laws vary from state to state. Previously, this database was online available in the library, but we've recently made it available for remote access. Read on for some tips about using the Subject Compilation of State Laws!

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TSLAC Webinar: Navigating Legal Reference: Support and Resources From the State Law Library

January 11, 2022

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In partnership with the Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission (TSLAC), SLL will be presenting Navigating Legal Reference: Support and Resources From the State Law Library, a webinar about our resources on Thursday, January 13th at 10 a.m. If you're interested in attending, you can register and find more info about the webinar on TSLAC's Upcoming Webinars page

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Complimentary Remote Access to Lexis Advance!

January 10, 2022

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We're happy to announce temporary remote access to Lexis Advance while our building is closed to the public due to rising COVID-19 cases. A big thank you to Lexis for facilitating remote access to their resources! Please read on for instructions to access Lexis Advance at home.

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SLL temporarily transitioning to remote operations due to COVID-19

January 6, 2022

News


Due to rising COVID-19 cases in Travis County, the library's physical location will be closed to the public beginning Friday, January 7th, through at least the end of January 2022 for the health and safety of our limited staff. We will still be available remotely via phone and e-mail to assist with your legal research needs!

If you have any library materials from us currently checked out, please be on the lookout for an e-mail from us regarding extended due dates. We'll keep you posted with any new developments, and we hope to be back to serve you in person soon. 

Travis County Expunction Expo begins in January 2022

December 30, 2021

News


Note: The Expunction Expo has been temporarily postponed due to COVID-19. 

Travis County is holding an Expunction Expo in January to help people clear old arrests from their records. This project is a partnership between the Travis County District Attorney's Office, the Travis County Attorney's Office, and the Travis County District Clerk's Office. Legal services will be provided by Capital Area Private Defender Service (CAPDS), the Travis County Public Defender's Office, Volunteer Legal Services (VLS), and the Travis County Law Library.

Crimes must have occurred in Travis County to be eligible for expunction. Only certain types of arrests are qualified for expunction. If you're not sure whether your situation will qualify, you can use the questionnaire on the Travis County District Clerk's Office to check.

The Travis County District Clerk's office has more info about the process available on the Expunction Expo page of their site. If you have more questions about the expunction process in Texas, be sure to check out our Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders research guide.

National Family Caregivers Month

November 19, 2021

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November is National Family Caregivers MonthWe frequently hear from Texans who are looking for information on caregiving for an elderly or disabled person. These people can be in many different roles: family members caring for a relative, attorneys drafting legal documents that outline crucial medical and financial decisions for elderly clients, or seniors interested in planning for their future. Whatever your role may be, we likely have a resource in our library that can help you understand the road ahead. 

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Library Account Registrations Available Again

November 15, 2021

News


We're pleased to announce that the issue with our remote registration process has been resolved! Texas residents can now register online for a library account with us by filling out a patron registration form and verifying their Texas residency online.

We apologize for the inconvenience that last week's interruptions may have caused. Please let us know if you have any questions!

AILALink Unavailable Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14th

November 10, 2021

News


Access to immigration law database AILALink will be interrupted briefly due to scheduled server maintenance on Sunday, November 14th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Deadline to Apply for Texas Rent Relief Program Closes Friday, November 5th

November 4, 2021

News


The application portal for the Texas Rent Relief Program is slated to close on Friday, November 5th, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Texas Rent Relief is a program administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) that provides financial assistance with rent and utilities for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An announcement posted on the program's website states that the program will no longer accept new and additional assistance requests after this date as the total requests for assistance exceed the number of funds available. Any applications still pending in the system will be processed until the program funds are depleted, and anyone who still wishes to submit an application must do so before Friday, November 5th at 5:00 p.m.

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

For more information on the Texas Rent Relief's portal closing, please see their FAQ. We also have more info on this program on the Rent & Legal Assistance page of our COVID-19 & Texas Law guide

New Executive Orders and Regulations on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

October 20, 2021

Feature


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 I be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Can my employer fire me if I don't get vaccinated? and Can I be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a “vaccine passport?

Still have questions? We're happy to help! You may also want to talk to a lawyer for advice on what the new orders and regulations mean for you.

Are abortions banned in Texas? Understanding Senate Bill 8

October 7, 2021

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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.

As always, we'll continue to update this FAQ with new developments related to SB 8, so check back in the future and let us know if you have questions.

Happy Constitution Day!

September 17, 2021

Feature


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!

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Do I need a license to carry a handgun in Texas?

September 2, 2021

Feature


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. 

We've added a Legal FAQ on HB 1927 to help address questions people may have about the new bill, and you can also find more info on the Carry of Firearms page of our Gun Laws guide

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