Library Spotlight

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


How to Hire a Lawyer

January 31, 2024

Feature


If you find yourself facing a legal problem you can’t resolve, it may be time to call a professional.  Lawyers can handle a variety of issues, including divorce, child custody, estate planning, starting a business, or providing a legal defense in a lawsuit.

Hiring a lawyer can be intimidating, but we have a few pointers for getting started. Head to our Hiring an Attorney guide for a full rundown.

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New Laws Effective January 1st

December 29, 2023

News


A total of 31 bills passed by the 88th Texas Legislature will go into effect on January 1, 2024.

Most new laws come from the regular legislative session that ended on May 29, 2023. Governor Greg Abbott also called four special sessions to consider additional legislation, some of which will become law on January 1. We may see more bills passed if the lawmakers gather again before the 89th Legislature convenes in 2025.

Over 700 bills passed by the current legislature already went into effect on September 1, 2023. A handful of bills are scheduled to become law at a later date.

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New Law Will Prevent Private Employers From Requiring COVID-19 Vaccines

December 1, 2023

News


Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 7. The bill bans private employers from adopting or enforcing workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandates. State and local government employers are already prohibited from doing so in Chapter 81B of the Texas Health and Safety Code. 

The new law will take effect on February 6, 2024. It covers employees, contractors, and job applicants in the private sector.

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Texas Voters Approve 13 New Constitutional Amendments

November 8, 2023

News


Texas voters approved 13 out of the 14 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution in the election yesterday, November 7, 2023. The legislature added the propositions to the ballot earlier this year.

The governor's proclamation is expected to follow shortly.

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Reference Roundup: Small Claims Cases

October 16, 2023

Roundup


People often turn to small claims courts to resolve disputes over smaller amounts of money. According to the Office of Court Administration's Annual Statistical Report for FY 2022, there were 246,850 small claims cases on the docket in Texas justice courts in 2022 alone.

Some examples of a small claims lawsuit include:

  • A person damaged your property and won’t pay to fix it;
  • You sold your car, but the person who bought it hasn’t paid you; or
  • You paid a contractor for a job, but they never completed the work.

We've answered your frequently asked questions about small claims in a new series of Legal FAQs. Brief summaries are listed below, but make sure to read the full FAQs for additional information.

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New Laws Effective September 1st

August 31, 2023

Feature


Many new bills passed during the 88th Texas Legislative Sessions will go into effect on September 1st, 2023. A total of 774 bills and individual sections from 19 additional bills are scheduled to become law on this date.  

A number of laws have already gone into effect or are scheduled to go into effect at a later date. We may see additional bills passed by this legislature if Governor Greg Abbott calls more legislative sessions before the 89th Legislature convenes in 2025. 

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Westlaw Access is Back!

August 2, 2023

News


Exciting news! Patrons can now access Westlaw Classic in person at the library! Westlaw is one of the most prominent legal databases in the industry, and we are thrilled to offer this service to the public once again.

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New Official Will Forms from the Texas Supreme Court

June 13, 2023

Feature


If you’ve been thinking about writing a will, the Texas Supreme Court has made it easier to do so without an attorney. The court has approved several official forms for people who want to write their own will:

  • Will Form for a Person Who is Single, Widowed, or Divorced and Who Has Children
  • Will Form for a Married Person Who Has Children
  • Will Form for a Person Who is Single, Widowed, or Divorced and Does Not Have Children
  • Will Form for a Married Person Who Does Not Have Children

The forms are on the Forms page of the Texas Judicial Branch website. Bilingual versions with instructions in English and Spanish are also available.

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Sine Die: 88th Regular Legislative Session Ends

May 25, 2023

News


The 88th Texas Legislative Regular Session began on January 10th and concludes on Monday, May 29th. Now what? Here’s a look at what happens next.

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Two New Collections Available Remotely from HeinOnline

April 20, 2023

Feature


Great news! Our patrons now have remote access to two new legal reference collections available through HeinOnline:

To research these collections remotely, you’ll need a free library account. Texas residents can sign up for a library account directly through our website. 

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Reference Roundup: Love and Marriage

February 14, 2023

Roundup


In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we looked at the questions we often receive about Texas marriage laws. Here are the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about marriage licenses, wedding ceremonies, and married name changes.  

Be sure to visit our Marriage in Texas guide for more info! 

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88th Regular Legislative Session Begins

January 9, 2023

News


The Texas Legislature's 88th Regular Session begins today! The session will run through May 29th, 2023. Here are a few pointers on the basics of the legislative process to help you stay up to date.

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New Video & Legal FAQ: How do I remove a guest who won’t leave?

December 8, 2022

Feature


Filled with the spirit of generosity that often accompanies a holiday season, people might feel more inclined to let their relatives, friends, or ex-partners temporarily stay in the spare bedroom. But what happens when a guest refuses to leave—even after the tree’s been taken down and you’ve asked them to leave multiple times?   

Our Legal FAQ How do I remove a guest who won’t leave? points to several Texas laws and resources that may be useful if you find yourself in this kind of situation. A related video briefly summarizes a few key points.  

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Celebrating Veterans Day on November 11th

November 10, 2022

Feature


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

Feature


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

Feature


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

Feature


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

Feature


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

Feature


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

Feature


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

News


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

Feature


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

Feature


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

Roundup


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

Feature


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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