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RSS Feeds from the LRL

Did you know that you can subscribe to RSS feeds for the Index to Sections Affected, LRL Daily Clips, and this blog? Here are the links you'll use to access the location files:

 

 

(Or, click on the orange RSS icons in the Quick Links navigation on our homepage to get the ISAf and clips links, and the orange RSS box on the top left of this blog.)
 

Copy and paste that URL into whatever program you use to receive/organize RSS feeds. If you use Outlook, select the RSS Feeds folder, Add a New RSS Feed, and then paste the URL into the "location" box.

 

You will start receiving ISAf updates as bills are indexed, as blog entries are posted, and/or daily clips, directly in the Outlook folder or your e-reader of choice. And if you decide you don't want to subscribe anymore, simply delete the folder.

 

 

LRL website ranks high in recent survey

A recent report by VisibleThread examined how well Texas state agencies communicate through their websites. Sites were evaluated in terms of their readability, average sentence length, use of passive voice, and use of complex language. Out of 54 Texas government websites, the Legislative Reference Library site ranked 6th overall, and out of all sites used the least amount of passive voice. The report emphasized the importance of clear, concise, well-organized web content to better foster citizen engagement.

 

Cover image by Elena Hruleva via Barnimages.com

 

Announcing the Mark L. Kincaid Legislative Papers

The Texas Legislative Reference Library has recently received a collection of documents from the late Austin attorney Mark L. Kincaid. Mr. Kincaid was known as "The Policyholder's Lawyer." He had established a reputation for crafting public policy for the protection of insurance policy holders who had little or no ability to prevent abuses in the claims process. Kincaid's papers enhance the Joe K. Longley-Philip K. Maxwell Deceptive Trade Practices Act Legislative Archive housed at the library.
 
Spanning two decades, from 1995 through 2015, the collection showcases Kincaid's efforts to curb tort reform, to document the 74th Legislature's intent behind H.B. 668, and to monitor and influence changes to the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The collection includes legislation, analyses on a variety of bills, testimony transcripts, PowerPoint presentations, and correspondence with many interested parties.
 
Mark L. Kincaid passed away on January 19, 2016, but he leaves a legacy of research and experience that will benefit the legislative and legal communities for years to come. The collection is not yet entirely processed by the Library, but we couldn't wait to give you a preview.
 

        Mark L. Kincaid, 1959-2016

 

 

LRL's Texas Governor Pages: Your Portal to Governor Information

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry's portrait was unveiled last week (whoop!), giving us the perfect opportunity to highlight our Texas governor pages. The LRL's Texas governor pages serve as a portal to a variety of information about Texas governors, including biographical information, term dates, previous offices held, and more. You can even see images of the governor portraits that hang in the Capitol Rotunda.
 
A favorite feature of the Texas governor pages is a searchable database that contains a wide range of gubernatorial documents for each Texas governor, including vetoes, executive orders, legislative messages, proclamations, speeches, and even inaugural invitation materials. In addition to our online governor materials, the library also has a large collection of hard copy materials that includes bound press memo volumes. For questions or assistance using the governor pages or governor materials in our collection, please contact the library at (512) 463-1252.
 
If you're interested in learning more about our Texas governor pages, see our previous blog posts on this topic.
 

Answer Your Committee-Related Questions with the LRL Committee Search

In a recent blog post, we discussed committee minute availability. This week, we're continuing our focus on Texas legislative committees by taking a look at the library's Committee Search page
 
The library's Committee Search page allows users to find information like committee membership, committee charges, published interim reports, and in some cases, committee minutes. You can use our committee search page to answer questions like:
  • What were the standing and joint committees of the 69th Legislature?
  • Has there ever been a committee to look at auto theft? (Answer: yes)
  • What issues has the Senate Natural Resources Committee examined over the last 5 sessions?
  • How long did the House Cultural and Historical Resources Committee exist and who served on it?
You can also search by committee member last name or by committee member role, which allows you to answer questions such as:
  • What committees has my state senator or representative served on during their time in the legislature? 
  • Did he or she ever chair a committee?
  • Who has chaired the Senate Finance Committee during its history?
There are many more committee-related questions that can be answered using our committee search page. For assistance or questions, please contact the library at (512) 463-1252.
 
Image: Committee search page on the LRL website.
 
 

Where to Find Committee Minutes

Committee minutes record the proceedings of legislative committees. They are the permanent record of what occurred at a committee hearing, and can be a helpful guide when viewing video or listening to audio of past hearings.
 
Minutes contain procedural information like roll call, record votes, bills considered, and witness information, and at times they include other research valuable items, such as transcripts of testimony, research reports, and correspondence.
 
The Legislative Reference Library makes committee minutes from the 63rd Legislature (1973) through the 74th Legislature (1995) available online through its committee minutes page, and also linked to bills in its Legislative Archive System. For committee minutes from the 75th Legislature (1997) - present, check the Texas Legislature Online's Committees webpage.
 
Table: Committee minute availability
 
(LRL = Legislative Reference Library; TLO = Texas Legislature Online)
Legislature House Senate Joint
63rd - 71st Online via LRL Online via LRL Online via LRL
72nd - 74th Online via LRL In hard copy at the LRL (scanning in progress) In hard copy at the LRL (scanning in progress)
75th - present Online via TLO Online via TLO Online via TLO
 

Visit the Texas Capitol while you're here for SXSW!

The Texas Capitol is conveniently located near much of the SXSW action, and is a perfect place to visit if you want to take a break. The building is open M-F, 7am - 10pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9am-8pm. Here are some spaces you might want to check out if you visit:
  1. Legislative Reference Library (2nd floor, Rm. 2N.3): The library space is original to the building, and has been in continuous use as a library since 1889. There is much to see, including books, paintings, sculptures, and exhibits that will appeal to all ages, even the young ones. While you're in the library, check out Santa Anna's Chair, and learn about some of the artwork on permanent display. We are open to the public, M-F, 8am-5pm.
  2. House and Senate Chambers (2nd floor, east and west wings): Though the Texas Legislature is not in session this year, try not to miss the House and Senate chambers. Both are open to the public, and you'll be able to see where Texas lawmakers debate legislation. In addition, both chambers boast an impressive collection of paintings and photos of early legislatures.
  3. Capitol Rotunda (1st floor): Many an Instagram pic has been taken in the Capitol Rotunda, and for good reason. The space offers some of the best views of the Capitol dome interior. In addition, the Rotunda is lined with portraits of former Texas governors, going all the way back to the early days of Texas statehood (spans four floors). 
  4. The Capitol Visitors Center: Located in its own building in the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds, the Capitol Visitors Center has ongoing exhibits, and serves as a good jumping off point for your visit at the Capitol. They also offer guided tours.
  5. Texas Supreme Courtroom and Texas Appeals Courtroom (3rd floor, north wing): In their early history, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Appeals heard cases in the Texas Capitol. Both courts have since moved to new spaces outside of the building, but the rooms are still there, and have been restored to their historic appearance. 
We hope that you enjoy your visit to the Texas Capitol. If you snap any pics, don't forget the #texasstatecapitol hashtag!
 

Photo courtesy of the Texas State Preservation Board.

 

Code of Criminal Procedure Research Guide

Image of scales of justice The library has created a new research guide that provides an overview of the 1965 revision of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  Included in the guide is a timeline and overview of the revision process, an annotated list of legislation that lead to the enactment of the new Code of Criminal Procedure in 1965, links to previous versions of the Code, and documents available for each year of the revision process. The guide serves as an excellent resource for discovering materials in the library collection that are relevant to the Code of Criminal Procedure's revision, and may aid researchers in tracing the reasoning and intent of specific statutory language.  
 
This is the library's second such research guide; the first guide provided information relating to the Penal Code revision.

 

 
 

New Books, Week of December 10th

The library adds new books to its collection every week. Here are six books recently added.

Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, by Nell Bernstein (2014).
"In this clear-eyed indictment of a failed institution—the juvenile detention facility—award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child."

Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, by William H. Frey (2014).
"Through a compelling narrative and eye-catching charts and maps, eminent demographer Frey interprets and expounds on the dramatic growth of minority populations in the U.S. He finds that without these expanding groups, America could face a bleak future: this new generation of young minorities, who are having children at a faster rate than whites, is infusing our aging labor force with vitality and innovation."

In the Common Interest: Embracing the New American Community, by John Carona (2014).
"[This book] explains how the modern community association benefits not only residents but also the country at large. [The author] outlines the pros and cons of these communities, plus prescriptive advice for how we can make them even better."

Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America, by Richard Parker (2014).
"Richard Parker takes the reader on a tour across today's booming Texas, an evolving landscape that is densely urban, overwhelmingly Hispanic, exceedingly powerful in the global economy, and increasingly liberal."

A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans, by Mike Gonzalez (2014).
"[This book] reveals exactly how bureaucratic decisions that encourage public assistance and discourage assimilation hinder Hispanics and allow them to be politically monopolized by progressives."

A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico, by Amy Greenberg (2012).
"It is a story of Indian fights, Manifest Destiny, secret military maneuvers, gunshot wounds, and political spin. Along the way it captures a young Lincoln mismatching his clothes, the lasting influence of the Founding Fathers, the birth of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and America’s first national antiwar movement."

 

 

New Texas Books in our Collection

The library adds new books to its collection every week. Here are six Texas-themed books recently added.

Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps, presented by the Center for Texas Studies at TCU (2007).
"These maps tell us much about the geography of Texas, but also about its economics, social milieu, history, politics, foreign policy and politics at given moments in history … In doing so, they provide a window into the things that make Texas unique." (Website)

Historic Texas: An Illustrated Chronicle of Texas' Past, by Archie P. McDonald (1996).
"This is a look at the events, the cultures, the well-known and perhaps not-so-well-known happenings, politics and actions that influenced the growth and changes that have become your area." (Website)

Texas: Mapping the Lone Star State Through History, by Vincent Virga and Don Blevins (2010).
"Combining 50 rare, beautiful, and diverse maps of Texas from the collections of the Library of Congress, informative captions about the origins and contents of those maps, and essays on Lone Star State history, this book is a collectible for cartography buffs and a celebration of state history for residents, former residents, and visitors." (Website) [Book does not circulate]

Notable Men and Women of Spanish Texas, by Donald E. Chipman and Harriett Denise Joseph (1999).
"By combining dramatic, real-life incidents, biographical sketches, and historical background, the authors bring to life famous (and sometimes infamous) people of Spanish Texas." (Website)

Texas: Crossroads of North America, by Jesús F. de la Teja, Paula Marks, and Ron Tyler (2004).
"Incorporating the latest scholarship, this text chronicles the development of the political, economic, and social identity of Texas through the unique insight of three authors. The thematically arranged text covers the full scope of Spanish exploration and colonization efforts, as well as the transformation of the Texas economy and society in the 20th century." (Website)

William Barret Travis: A Biography, by Archie P. McDonald (1995).
"[This book] is the first scholarly biography of the legendary Alamo commander … [It] is an in-depth study that searches for an understanding of Travis' character and multifaceted personality. The result is an exciting and entertaining, but above all contemplative analysis of Travis and the Texas War for Independence." (Website)

 

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