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Texas African American History Memorial Exhibit

Entering the Capitol grounds from the south, one of the first monuments visitors see is the Texas African American History Memorial. Unveiled on November 19, 2016, the monument commemorates African American Texans and their contributions to the history and evolution of the Lone Star State. 

 

To see how the memorial developed in sculptor Ed Dwight's studio and learn about its legislative history, visit the Legislative Reference Library's display featuring the piece. Photographs showing components of the sculpture in different stages, alongside images of the final product, give insight into the artist's process. Placards lining the top of the case outline the eight bills that the legislature passed in the process of making the memorial a reality. (You can also learn more about the monument's legislative history here.)

 

As Texans prepare to commemorate Black History Month, we hope you'll visit our display and the Texas African American History Memorial to learn more about the wide array of contributions made by Black Texans.

 

Images, clockwise from top: 

The Texas African American History Memorial display is located in the case nearest the reference desk.

 

Photos from sculptor Ed Dwight's studio came to the library courtesy of Bill Jones, Esq., Chair of the Texas African American History Memorial Foundation, and help us to see the many steps and intricate work that went into the 27-foot high and 32-foot wide monument.

Legislative Agency Service Fair, January 24

At the beginning of each session, the Legislative Agency Service Fair provides an opportunity for new members and their staff to learn more about the services each agency offers.

 

This year, the fair will be held on Thursday, January 24, from 10:30 until noon, in the Legislative Reference Library, Capitol, 2N.3.

 

Staff from the following legislative agencies will be in attendance: Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Reference Library, State Auditor's Office, Sunset Advisory Commission, and Texas Legislative Council. Also attending will be a representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures. You might come away with more than information—we will have selected publications and other items to give away.

 

Please drop by the fair to learn more about how legislative agencies can support your work!

 

Rep. Dade Phelan (HD-21) reviews materials from the Legislative Reference Library with LRL Assistant Director, Catherine Wusterhausen, at the 2015 agency fair.

Updated Exhibit: Legislator/Artist

Learn about the creative side of some Texas legislators in our recently updated "Legislator/Artist" exhibit. 

 

See a painting by Sen. Craig Estes (77th–85th Legislatures) and drawings—on Texas legislature subjects—by Reps. Neil Caldwell (56th–64th Legislatures) and Louis H. Scholl (34th–35th Legislatures).

 

Know of any other legislators, past or present, who have artistic talents? Let us know so we can add their work to our display!

 

Cover image ("Jack passed his court bill") by Rep. Neil Caldwell. Reproduced from Inside the Texas Legislature with State Representative Neil Caldwell, 1969.

Organizing, Preserving, and Providing Access to Legislative Information Since 1969

The Legislative Reference Library recently updated our exhibit about the library and its work. Come by and learn more about our creation and leadership, discover answers to frequently asked questions, enjoy now and then photos of our reading room, and see photos documenting our work over time.

 

Now and then, the LRL in 2018 and 1910. See that bucket next to the man in the foreground of the picture? Yup, that's a spittoon. Our tables don't come with spittoons anymore, but visitors can bring their (covered) drinks to our library!

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
 

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