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Legal Research Process

What is the Texas Administrative Code (TAC)?

The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) is a compilation of state agency regulations by agency/subject, after their initial publication in the Texas Register. The TAC contains 16 titles in non-sequential order.

When to Use the TAC

One should consult the TAC after surveying secondary sources, statutes, and the CFR, particularly if the secondary sources and Texas statutes are unclear regarding Texas regulations.

How to Find the TAC

Online, the Texas Secretary of State's website has a free version of the Texas Administrative Code. (Agencies' websites may also post relevant regulations.)

The TAC is also located online via the subscription databases Lexis Advance and WestlawNext. On WestlawNext, find the TAC by clicking on "Regulations" then "Texas".

In print at the Tarlton Law Library, the TAC is located in the main reading room on the 2nd floor.

How to Use the TAC

Organization

The hierarchy and terminology of the TAC's organization varies slightly from the CFR:

Title  >  Part  >  Chapter  >  Subchapter  >  Section

For example:

Title 7. Banking and Securities
  Part 5. Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner
    Chapter 86. Retail Creditors
      Subchapter A. Registration of Retail Creditors
        § 86.101. Consumer Notifications

Only the title, chapter, and section are referenced in a citation: 7 Tex. Admin. Code § 86.101.

Similar to the CFR, regulations laid out in the TAC provide Tex. Reg. citations that originally published the final rule. For instance, with the above example, its "Source Note" states: "The provisions of this §86.101 adopted to be effective November 9, 2006, 31 TexReg 9017." (Unlike the CFR, there is not a consistent provision of an authority note as well for finding the enabling statute.) Look for these Tex. Reg. citations if you wish to compile a regulatory history.


Ways to Research Regulations

There are several ways to search the TAC.

  • If you have already narrowed your search down to a specific agency, browsing the TAC's table of contents is one option, whether online or in print. 
  • Using an index: For the TAC, an index is only available in print. The print version of the TAC includes an annually revised index volume and each individual title is also accompanied by its own index.
  • Working from the enabling statute:
    • Both the print and online versions of the Texas statutory code from Lexis and Westlaw provide citations to the TAC related to a particular statutory section. You can look at both the annotations following the statutory text for "Administrative Code References," as well as Shepard's and KeyCite for possibly even more results. 
    • (The TAC does not have a state level equivalent to CFR's Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules.)
  • Keyword searching: The Texas Secretary of State's version is also searchable, and offers a help page. As usual, both Lexis and Westlaw have the additional options of natural language and terms and connectors searching. These searching techniques can be helpful, but since many subjects are touched upon in numerous places, use caution that you do not wind up in a completely wrong title.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Different Versions of the TAC

The Secretary of State-maintained website is possibly the best place to research Texas regulations. This version is updated regularly and is easily searchable, while the Lexis and Westlaw versions can be difficult to navigate. The print version is another good resource because of its index; however, the index is only updated annually.