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Finding Texas Law in the Tarlton Law Library

Statutes Arranged By Subject

In Texas, statutes that are currently in force are published in the Texas Codes Annotated or the Texas Revised Civil Statutes Annotated. Texas is in the process of reorganizing its statutes, which is why there are two organizational schemes. Both arrangements contain current law and can be accessed through a single general index to the Texas statutes. The Texas statutes are commonly called Vernon's (because Vernon used to publish them and the name is still on the spine).

Statutes and codes- subject arrangement of current laws kept up to date as the Legislature makes changes to the law.

  • Vernon's -
    • a. Texas Revised Civil Statutes Annotated
    • b. Texas Codes Annotated
  • Finding tools -
    • 1. Subject indexes (for individual Codes and for entire set)
    • 2. Tables -
      • Disposition table - shows where Civil Statute cites are located in the present Code.
      • Derivation table - shows where present Code sections were in the Civil Statutes.
  • Cross Reference Information -
    • Session law to Code or Civil Statute cite.
    • Code or Civil Statute cite to Session law

A range of different publishers also offer a selected number of Texas annotated codes on discrete subjects (e.g., family law). Jones McClure produces one popular series of Texas annotated codes; the most recent two editions are available on Reserve.

Statutes Arranged in Chronological Order

The subject-matter arrangement of the laws is actually the last step in the legislative process. Before being included in Vernon's, the laws are published in an arrangement that is chronological, as they were passed by the legislature.

  • Slip laws are printed after an Act is passed by the Legislature (and signed by the Governor). In Texas, slip laws are not distributed to the public, but are available through the Statutory Documents Section of the Secretary of State's Office.
  • Session laws are the enacted laws bound in chronological order.
    • Vernon 's Texas Session Law Service- first published in this pamphlet form
    • General & Special Laws of Texas- final bound version
    • Finding aids:
      • Disposition of Laws Tables
      • Civil Statutes, Codes, & Acts Amended, New or Repealed
      • Acts Amended or Repealed
      • Bills & Resolutions Approved
      • Bills & Resolutions Vetoed after Adjournment
      • Subject Index

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