One of the most common questions we get here at the Law Library is, “Where can I find historical statutes in Texas?” Historical statutes are notoriously tricky to find, and that can be frustrating. Here is a list of just some of the resources that are available to you that carry historical Texas statutes.
HeinOnline–The Law Library has a subscription to HeinOnline, so this resource is available to all Texas Tech Law students. There is an entire collection dedicated to historical state statutes. The Texas statutes go all the way back to 1838, but unfortunately the most recent statutes they have on file for Texas are from 1925.
Texas State Law Library–The Texas State Law Library website is a free resource for anyone to use, so this could be a useful resource even after you graduate from law school. The coverage of dates for the historical statutes in this collection range from 1879-1966. Besides historical statutes, this website has plenty of other valuable resources for you to use!
Westlaw–While Westlaw doesn’t have historical statutes dating back to the early 1900’s, they do have more recent statutes. For example, the Texas statutes range from 1987-present. To access the historical statutes on Westlaw, go to the State Materials tab and click on Texas.
Next, click on Texas Statutes & Court Rules.
Once you click this, look on the right hand side of the screen and you will see “Texas Statutes Annotated-Historical”; click there.
You will then be taken to all of the historical statutes that are available on Westlaw.
In the Library-Most law libraries in Texas will have copies of historical statutes in print. The Texas Tech Law Library has laws in our collection dating back to 1836. We have attorneys come in all the time wanting to know what a law said back in 1987. Since they don’t have access to Westlaw, the library is a great place for them to come! So even when you graduate, keep in mind that the library is a great resource.
Searching for historical statutes can be a daunting task. Hopefully these resources help, and if you require further assistance, the library and its wonderful librarians are always here to help!