Monday, March 17, 2014

Historical Texas Statute Publications

Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian

Lately I had a personal need to find and understand a repealed Texas statute that was in effect in 1931.  I had never anticipated that I would have to use the Revised Civil Statutes of the State of Texas Adopted at the Regular Session of the Thirty-Ninth Legislature 1925, including Constitution of the United States and Constitution of the State of Texas. (In Two Volumes) Published by Authority of the State of Texas. This information is not available on expensive online paid subscriptions like Westlaw or Lexis. They only indicate that the statute in question was repealed and the date of the repeal.

However, this resource is available in paper in our library's collection and online through the Texas State Law Library. Interestingly, one of our paper sets came from the office of the Criminal District Attorney, Harris County, Texas.  It was sent to him by Emma Grigsby Meharg, Secretary of State, with the exhortation that he "turn the set over to his successor in office, taking his receipt for the same and file such receipt with the County Judge of your county." Obviously, along the way, there was no need for the Harris County DA to comply with the request.

These and earlier statutes are called codifications and re-codifications of Texas law.  They are also called bulk revisions. The publications reflect both substantive and non-substantive changes (reorganization) of the laws. Our paper volumes can be found at on the fifth floor of the library. Our catalog has two links to the digitized version.  One is for use in our library through our Making of Modern Law Subscription and the other is digitized by the Texas State Law Library.