Texas in the United States

Legal Materials

The Texas Legislature Online posts the Texas Constitution, statutory code, bills, etc.

The Secretary of State posts the Texas Administrative Code. The current Administrative Code is searchable on Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law. Historical editions are available on Lexis back to 2004 and on Westlaw back to 2002. Copies of older editions back to 1979 are available from the Texas State Library (512-463-1722 or library@sll.texas.gov).

The Secretary of State also posts the Texas Register back six months; the Register isarchived back to 1976. For older issues, call the Register at (800) 226-7199.

For more links to free online legal materials, try FindLaw. Texas primary legal materials are also available from Lexis and Westlaw. Versuslaw has cases. Google Scholar has free cases law back to 1950.

Supreme and appellate court cases are published in West’s South Western Reporter.

Texas session laws are published in Vernon’s Texas Session Law Service (West). Texas session laws from 1846 to 1921 are posted as part of Gammel’s The Laws of Texas by the University of North Texas Library. The HeinOnline session law collection has Texas session laws from 1824 to about a year back. You can also check out the Historical Texas Statutes And Constitutions from the Texas State Law Library.

To check on the status of a pending bill, search the bill number in the Legislature’s Bill Lookup with the “Information Type” pull-down menu set to “History.” Or you can call the Bill Status Hotline (877-824-7038 in Texas; 512-463-2182 outside of Texas). Note: The Texas Legislation has regular sessions only every other year.

Businesses: For free you can look up a company’s address, registered agent and franchise tax account status using the Comptroller’s Taxable Entity Search. For a few dollars, you can look up business registrations and retrieve filings through SOS Direct. The SOS Direct database covers:

  • Corporations
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Assumed Names
  • Trademarks
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Foreign and State Financial Institutions
  • Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Associations
  • Probate Code filings by Foreign Corporate Fiduciaries
  • UCC Financing Statements
  • Federal Liens

Citations: The Texas Legislative History & Administrative Agency Citation Guideprovides Texas-specific citation forms.

Corporations: For information about Texas corporations, call the Texas Secretary of State’s Corporate Information Line (512-463-5555).

Docket Sheets and Case Files: iDocket.com provides docket sheets for many Texas courts. Also check the court web site; links to court, and docket search websites, where available, is posted here. For additional sources, see the separate “Docket Sheets”entry.

Pleadings, briefs and other documents in the case file may be available electronically through the court web site or through one of the commercial services listed in the “Docket Sheets” entry. Alternatively, you may be able to call the court to order a PDF, or you may be able to order documents through the court web site (e.g., Brazoria County District Court).

Legal Encyclopedias and Research Guides: West publishes Texas Jurisprudence, which is available in print, on Westlaw (TXJUR) and on Lexis (TEX;TXJUR). For a discussion of Texas legal materials, see Researching Texas Law (William S. Hein & Co.) by Brandon Quarles and Matthew Cordon.

Legislative History: The Texas Legislative Reference Library posts an excellent explanation of how to compile a Legislative History for a Texas bill (www.lrl.state.tx.us/legis), including a list of agencies that compile Texas Legislative Histories for a fee. Legislative Intent: The main sources for discerning legislative intent are tape recording of House and Senate proceedings that are available back to 1973. For questions, call the Legislative Reference Library (512-463-1252).

Libraries: For questions about Texas legal materials, copies and/or inter-library loan, try calling the Texas State Law Library (512-463-1722), the University of Texas at Austin law library (512-471-7726) and/or the Texas A&M University law library (713-646-1711).

Taxes: Texas taxes are handled by the Texas Controller’s Office (512-464-4000). I have found the staff helpful and courteous.

Trial Transcripts: Westlaw has transcripts of oral arguments from the Supreme Court of Texas, Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas and Court of Appeals of Texas, 8th District (TX-ORALARG), as well as selected trial transcripts filed in state and federal courts (TX-TRNSCRPTS-ALL).

Verdicts and Settlements: Texas jury verdict are summarized by Trial Report Serviceand VerdictSearch. Verdictsearch and others are available in the Lexis Mega Jury Verdicts database. You may want to try Westlaw too, as a back-up. See also the separate entry for “Verdicts and Settlements.”

Note: We linked the resources to archive.org in an effort to decrease the number of broken links cited.

Primary Law

For more U.S. state primary law resources, see:

Topics Covered by the Texas Legal Encyclopedia

Note: More detailed information about this State is provided in the Texas jurisdictional legal Encyclopedia, which tie together Texas statutory and case law.

Drug Sting in Tulia (Texas) in relation to Crime and Race

Drug Sting in Tulia (Texas) is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: Early in the morning of July 23, 1999, dozens of arrests occurred in the town of Tulia, a small town in the Texas panhandle. As part of a drug sting operation, police raided homes and arrested people, most of whom had no idea what was going on, why they were being arrested, or what crime they were supposed to have committed. A total of 46 people (approximately 20% of the town’s population) were targeted in this mass arrest, 40 of whom were African American. The six non-African Americans arrested had strong ties to the African American community in Tulia. Afterward, Tulia would become known as a place where a grave injustice had taken place, but only after many of the town’s African American citizens had been tried, convicted, and sent to prison.

Finding the law: Texas in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to texas, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines texas topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.


Notes and References

  1. Entry about Drug Sting in Tulia (Texas) in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

See Also

Vernon’s in the Context of Law Research

The Thurgood Marshall School of Law Library defined briefly Vernon’s as: The publisher of materials dealing with the law of Texas. Vernon’s publications include Texas Codes Annotated, Texas Statues Annotated, Texas Rules Annotated, Texas Civil Statues and the Texas Constitution.Legal research resources, including Vernon’s, help to identify the law that governs an activity and to find materials that explain that law.

Texas: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Texas. This part provides references, in relation to Texas, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Texas by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Texas and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Texas or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Texas and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Texas. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Texas should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Texas when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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