Earlier this month, the Texas State Law Library announced a new collection of digitized historical Texas statutes available on its website. The collection now includes all Texas statutes from 1879 to 1960. The newest content includes works with copyrighted material published between 1928 and 1960, which is now available under an agreement with the copyright holder Thomson Reuters and in collaboration with the Austin Bar Foundation, which provided a grant to fund digitization. Visit the Historical Texas Statutes page on the Texas State Law Library website to learn more and to download copies of these newly-digitized, searchable documents.
Minding the Gap
Despite the Texas State Law Library’s giant leap forward in making historical Texas statutes available online, there is still a gap practitioners must keep in mind. Thomson Reuter’s Westlaw provides access to historical statutes back to 1987, which is likely to cover most researcher’s needs. However, a criminal defense attorney might need to know the language of a 1985 DWI statute to determine its effect on a client's sentence, or a real estate attorney may need to read a probate statute from the 1970s to see how it will impact a title in a pending sale. When research falls into the gap, the Harris County Law Library is here to help. We have historical statutes and legislative history materials to help you reconstruct historical Texas statutes and we provide free access to Westlaw on our legal research computers for your 1987-to-present research needs. Visit the Law Library any time we can assist with your historical Texas statutory research.