Latest & Greatest – Texas State Directory

Published by Texas State Directory Press, Inc.  JK 4830 .T4

Published by Texas State Directory Press, Inc.

JK 4830 .T4

Have you ever been curious about how the legislative branch in Texas works? Are you interested in learning more about our state’s lawmakers and the people who make up the state’s three branches of government as well as the agencies, boards, and commissions? If so, then we recommend that you have a look at the Texas State Directory and its companions, Texas Legislative Handbook and Texas Legislative Guide. Published by Texas State Directory Press, Inc., Texas State Directory is the go-to source for information about Texas government. In fact, its subtitle is “The Comprehensive Guide to the Decision-Makers in Texas Government.” Now in its 60th edition, Texas State Directory is divided into five sections: the State Section, the County Section, the City Section, the Federal Section, and the Reference Section. As you would expect, the State Section covers every branch of state government and has information about elected and appointed officials. The County and City Sections contain detailed information about county public officials and the elected officials in the incorporated cities, respectively. The Federal Section provides information about the Texans who represent the State in the federal government, including United States Senators, members of the United States House of Representatives, and Federal Circuit and District Judges. The Reference Section is where you can find names and addresses associated with the two main political parties, some Texas facts, and qualifications for office, among other things.

Texas Legislative Handbook is a handy pocket guide featuring photographs and useful information about our state senators and representatives, addresses and telephone numbers for the Texas delegation of the 115th United States Congress, and the names of those members who comprise the various Senate and House Standing Committees. Of interest as well are the Senate and House seating charts and the Senate and House district maps.

The last of this trio of governmental resources is the Texas Legislative Guide: A Guide to the Texas Legislative Process. This volume is separated into four principal sections. After providing a brief historical synopsis of the early Texas legislatures, the first section addresses the powers granted to the legislature and how the legislature is structured and how it operates. The second section of the book delves into the legislative process and walks the reader through the various stages from the initial preparation and reading of a bill to its enrollment and ultimate signing (or vetoing) by the governor. The third section lays out the responsibilities, immunities, and restrictions of the legislator and describes the three libraries located within the capitol complex. Political parties, administrative agencies, and interest groups are discussed in the fourth section as are the public’s participation in the legislative process and the role of the press.

Be sure to ask for the Texas State Directory at the reference desk.

Latest & Greatest - Social Media and Local Governments: Navigating the New Public Square

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   By Patricia E. Salkin & Julie A. Tappendorf  Published by the American Bar Association. Section of State and Local Government Law  KF 5300 .S63 2013

By Patricia E. Salkin & Julie A. Tappendorf

Published by the American Bar Association. Section of State and Local Government Law

KF 5300 .S63 2013

With more widespread use of social media in the workplace, it is imperative that attorneys in both the public and private sectors understand the opportunities it offers in the form of marketing and the dissemination of information and the challenges it presents in terms of ensuring the reliability of the information provided and of maintaining confidentiality where required.  Written for attorneys who work in the public sector, Social Media and Local Governments: Navigating the New Public Square explains the benefits and pitfalls that this ubiquitous technology can present. From its practical uses in the government context to legal questions, the authors cover all aspects of social media to allow government attorneys make informed decisions regarding the implementation of social media policies for its employees and the establishment and maintenance of its own online presence. This book is a must-read for any government lawyer exploring the use of social media for its own purposes.

Latest & Greatest – Federal Information Disclosure

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   By James T. O’Reilly  Published by Thomson Reuters (2016)  KF 5753 .O74 2012

By James T. O’Reilly

Published by Thomson Reuters (2016)

KF 5753 .O74 2012

In conjunction with the Law Library’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we are highlighting some resources that will enhance your understanding of the scope and limitations of FOIA. Sometimes referred to as the “Bible of FOIA,” Federal Information Disclosure answers many questions surrounding the public’s “right to know” and the issue of governmental transparency. From the origins of the Freedom of Information Act with its adoption in 1966 to its inevitable expansion with the Privacy Act (1974), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (1972), and the Government in the Sunshine Act (1976), the author examines all aspects of FOIA as well as court decisions interpreting its provisions. The author explains the procedural aspects of FOIA, including the content of a request, the processing of the request, and the search limitations involved with the requests and addresses FOIA litigation and aspects of judicial review, such as de novo review, summary judgment, and the myriad issues that may arise during this review process. He also discusses the nine statutory exemptions to FOIA and how the courts have routinely interpreted those exemptions.

The author wisely avoids the political facets of FOIA and its progeny by simply explaining the process behind the disclosure of government information and how the United States courts have interpreted the statute and have balanced the public’s “right to know” with the government’s desire from some level of secrecy. His book is meant to be “an essential tool” for the seeker of federal information.

Latest and Greatest – Locating U.S. Government Information Handbook

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   By Edward Herman and Theodora Belniak  Published by William S. Hein, Co., Inc. (2015)  ZA 5055 .U6 H47 2015

By Edward Herman and Theodora Belniak

Published by William S. Hein, Co., Inc. (2015)

ZA 5055 .U6 H47 2015

Let’s face it. There is a lot of government information found in print and online, but actually finding it can be quite difficult, not to mention confusing. Here comes Edward Herman’s Locating U.S. Government Information Handbook to the rescue. Designed for the novice researcher, this handbook takes you through a brief introduction about the structure of the United States government and basic online research skills and strategies then on to more specific research sources, such as the indexes published by the Government Publishing Office, U.S. Government maps, historical government documents, and technical reports. There is also some helpful information about how to contact governmental agencies and members of Congress as well as a discussion of the Freedom of Information Act and how to submit requests under the Act.

If you feel overwhelmed by the volume of government information and are not sure how to find answers you are seeking, try Locating U.S. Government Information Handbook. It’s available at the reference desk. Just ask a librarian for assistance.