Library Spotlight

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


Weather Emergencies Guide — Winter Storm 2021 Resources

February 23, 2021

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Texans faced power and water outages, soaring utility bills, and damages to homes and businesses as a result of February's winter storm. We've compiled a list of resources from the state, local and federal response along with information about utility bills, property damage, and insurance claims.

See the Winter Storm 2021 page on the Weather Emergencies guide for more info.

New Texas Rent Relief Program Begins Monday, Feb. 15th at 8 a.m.

February 10, 2021

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Tracking the 87th Texas Legislative Session

February 1, 2021

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The Texas Legislature's 87th Regular Session is underway! The session began on January 12th, 2021, and will run through May 31st, 2021. Read on for information on keeping up with the latest from the 87th session.

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CDC Eviction Order Extended Through March 31st, 2021

January 25, 2021

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2020 at the State Law Library: Year in Review

December 31, 2020

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It's doubtful that anyone will remember 2020 fondly. The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions across all spheres of life, and we're still grappling with the effects as we head into 2021. At the State Law Library, we spent the better part of a year focusing our efforts on connecting Texans with legal information and resources to help navigate the pandemic's impact, and we pledge to do the same in 2021. Here is a rundown of the SLL's projects and efforts in 2020. 

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Bill of Rights Day

December 15, 2020

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Today, December 15th is Bill of Rights Day! The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution comprise the Bill of Rights, which set out the foundational civil rights and liberties guaranteed to all Americans. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15th to be Bill of Rights Day in 1941 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights' ratification.

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Texas Legal History: Lethal Injection

December 11, 2020

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This week marks 38 years since the first use of lethal injection in the United States. On December 7th, 1982, the State of Texas executed Charlie Brooks by lethal injection, becoming the first U.S. state to execute an offender with this method. Read on for a brief overview of the history of lethal injection in Texas.

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How do I report a business for violating the mask ordinance?

December 9, 2020

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We've had a lot of questions about where to report a business or organization for violating mask/face covering orders recently. The best way to report these violations would be to contact your local law enforcement agency (typically a county sheriff's office, city police department, or similar local agency). For more details, please see our legal FAQ on this subject as well as the Mask Laws page of our COVID-19 and Texas Law research guide.

Complimentary Access to Lexis Advance

December 1, 2020

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Take advantage of temporary remote access to Lexis Advance! Procedures have changed, so please review and let us know if you have questions.

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Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions from CDC Order

November 17, 2020

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an agency order at the beginning of September that halts residential evictions for tenants in certain situations through the end of December 2020. We've provided an overview of this order on the Eviction page of our COVID-19 research guide, including information on who it protects and how it can be used to stop an eviction along with forms and other resources.

Can I be fired for voting for a particular candidate? Am I entitled to paid time off to vote on Election Day?

November 3, 2020

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Today is Election Day! Many Texans who have not participated in early voting will head to the polls today to cast their ballot in federal, state, and local elections. Let's take a look at several Texas statutes that protect employees' right to vote.

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Complimentary Access to Lexis Advance

November 2, 2020

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Take advantage of temporary remote access to Lexis Advance! Procedures for accessing Lexis Advance have changed, so please review these changes and let us know if you have any questions.

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Happy Halloween from SLL!

October 27, 2020

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Happy Halloween! Legal research doesn't have to be scary — unless you're pulling up one of the Halloween-themed law review articles we've listed below! All of the articles listed can be accessed through HeinOnline, an incredibly thorough collection of legal periodicals that is part of the State Law Library's Digital Collection.

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National Estate Planning Awareness Week: Powers of Attorney

October 23, 2020

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Our last Spotlight post for National Estate Planning Awareness Week will take a brief look at powers of attorney. In general, a power of attorney is a document that allows a person to make decisions or take actions on another person's behalf. Read on for more information and resources at the SLL on this topic.

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National Estate Planning Awareness Week: Living Wills

October 22, 2020

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Earlier this week, we discussed library resources for creating a simple will. In the second post for our series on National Estate Planning Awareness Week, we’ll look at resources that will help you understand and create a directive to physicians, which is commonly referred to as a “living will”. A living will is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes for medical care.

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National Estate Planning Awareness Week: Creating a Will

October 19, 2020

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October 19th through the 25th is National Estate Planning Awareness Week! Do you have a plan in place to take care of your estate and your loved ones at the end of your life? If not, the library has a lot of resources that can help you create a will, learn how guardianship works, create powers of attorney, and research other aspects of estate planning. Today we will look at several resources for creating a simple will.

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Annotating the News: The Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS Hearings

October 15, 2020

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Today is the final day of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings in the United States Senate for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and much of the hearings have touched on Barrett's judicial opinions on the U.S. Court of the 7th Circuit as well as her academic writing in law journals. Read on to find out how to access many of these opinions and articles through the State Law Library.

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Early Voting Begins Today, October 13th!

October 13, 2020

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Today marks the first day of early voting in Texas! The early voting period has been extended through October 30th to allow for safe social distancing practices, according to Governor Abbott's July 27th proclamation [PDF]. To find a place to vote, check the Secretary of State's website for a list of polling locations in your area or use Vote411. You can also find more information on the Voting page of our COVID-19 and Texas law research guide and the Absentee & Early Voting page of our Voting in Texas guide.

Last Day to Register to Vote in the November 3rd Election!

October 5, 2020

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Today, October 5th is the last day to register in time for the November 3rd election, so don't forget to register to vote! Please see our previous Spotlight post on National Voter Registration Day for more information on voting in Texas.

Absentee Voting & Voting By Mail: A Quick Legal Introduction

October 1, 2020

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Interest in voting by mail has increased in 2020 due to concerns about safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the practice actually dates back to the American Revolution. This Spotlight post takes a look at the history of absentee voting and voting by mail as well as modern efforts to increase access to vote-by-mail procedures.

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National Voter Registration Day

September 22, 2020

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It's National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered to vote? Voters must be registered by October 5th in order to vote in the November 3rd election, so read on for information on how to check your voter registration status, register to vote, finding polling places, and other resources for voting in Texas. 

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CDC Order Provides Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions

September 16, 2020

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The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued an agency order at the beginning of September that halts residential evictions for tenants in certain situations through the end of December 2020. We've provided an overview of this order on the Eviction page of our COVID-19 research guide, including information on who it protects and how it can be used to stop an eviction along with forms and other resources.

Reference Roundup: Marriage in the Time of COVID-19

September 15, 2020

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We've received a lot of marriage-related questions from Texans looking for information during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we thought we'd cover some of the basics in one spot. Read on for answers to questions about Zoom wedding ceremonies, name changes, registering as an officiant, and more!

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Complimentary Access to Lexis Advance!

September 15, 2020

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Take advantage of temporary remote access to Lexis Advance! Procedures for accessing Lexis Advance have changed, so please review these changes and let us know if you have any questions.

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New Addition to the Digital Collection: Race & the Law

September 9, 2020

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We're announcing the addition of Race & the Law, a new list of newly purchased titles within the Constitutional Law and Civil Rights category of the library's Digital Collection! This list features e-book titles that focus on a variety of aspects of race in the United States: strategies for racial justice, a look at racial bias and prejudice within the legal system, the history of racial inequity in the United States, and more. Here are a few highlights from our new list:

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