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Zimmerman's Research Guide



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 is archived 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:

     Limited Partnerships
     Limited Liability Companies
     Assumed Names
     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 Guide provides 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 Service and 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."

See Also
Attorney General Opinions
Docket Sheets
Legal Ethics
Secretary of State Records
State Bills and Bill Tracking
State Cases
State Constitutions
State Court Rules
State Government Agencies
State Laws, generally
State Legislative History
State Regulations and Administrative Codes
State Statutes and Codes

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman