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Legal Research Process

What is the Texas Register?

The Texas Register is a weekly publication put out by the Texas Secretary of State, typically on Friday afternoons, that serves as the journal of state agency rulemaking for Texas.

The Texas Register includes:

  • proposed, adopted, and withdrawn rules;
  • emergency rules;
  • notices of state agency reviews of agency rules;
  • Governor's appointments;
  • Attorney General opinions; and
  • other documents, such as requests for proposals and documentation of administrative enforcement of laws and regulations.

After proposed rules are adopted they are codified by subject in the Texas Administrative Code.

When to Use the Texas Register

Like the Fed. Reg, the Texas Register is a current awareness tool and, at the same time, a source of regulatory history. To keep current, you can look for the latest issue on a weekly basis for new ("Adopted Rules" section) and proposed regulations.

How to Find the Texas Register

Online:

  • Texas Secretary of State website:
    • previous year's issues available in PDF and html
    • Searchable database: from February 2000 - Present
  • Portal to Texas History's Texas Register: Volume 1, No. 1 (January 6, 1976) - Present. There appears to be about a one month delay in archiving the most recent issues.
  • Lexis Advance (login required): Coverage from January 1992 - present.
  • WestlawNext (login required): go to State Materials > Texas > Proposed & Adopted Regulations (at the bottom of the page) > Texas Administrative Register (in the right column). Coverage begins at 14 TexReg 5203, October 3, 1989.

Print: At the Tarlton Law Library, it is located in the main reading room on the 2nd floor.

How to Use the Texas Register

Ways to research regulations:

  • Secretary of State searchable database covering February 2000 - Present. There are a variety of ways to search for a particular rule, including the text of the rule, the agency the rule applies to, the date, etc. The system does not allow searching for rules and non-rules at the same time. The search results are organized by date and show up 10 entries at a time--there is no other way to organize the search results.
  • Portal to Texas History's Texas Register natural language searching
  • Use an index: Secretary of State annual indexes in PDF and html from 1997 - Present.
    • Indexes for the years 2008-Present contain full lists of all the rules and non-rule entries published in the weekly issues for that year. The "Index of Rules" for these years list every rule entry organized by the Titles in the Texas Administrative Code and indicate whether the rule was Proposed: (P), Adopted: (A), Withdrawn: (W), Emergency: (E). The "Index of Non-Rulemaking Notices" lists every non-rule entry from that year, organized by the agency and cites the page number of the Register where it can be found.
    • Indexes for the years 1997-2007 organize the information by agency and by TAC titles affected. In the "Agency Guide", the agencies are listed in alphabetical order with a list of proposed, adopted and withdrawn regulations, organized by the Chapter in the Texas Administrative Code the regulations fell under. Non-rule entries are also listed in this section under their respective agencies. In the "TAC Titles Affected" pages, the rules published during that year are organized by the Titles of the Texas Administrative Code, but do not state the responsible agency or whether the rule was proposed, adopted or withdrawn.
    • The Indexes for the years 1997-2003 also include a list of all the Open Meetings held by each agency.

As usual, both Lexis and Westlaw have the additional options of natural language and terms and connectors searching. 

Strengths and Weaknesses

Lexis and Westlaw may be more familiar to the typical researcher, but in terms of currency, the free government sources are better.