FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/13/2011
Preserving Texas History
AUSTIN – Last week, at the ceremonial signing of House Bill 1559, Governor Rick Perry and State Representative Sarah Davis ushered in legislation that will provide countless written relics of Texas history, stored in court houses across the state, temporary protection from destruction until rules can be adopted for their retention by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. "In many cases, these invaluable documents were being destroyed simply to create space for more recent documents."
In 2009 the Texas Supreme Court established the Texas Court Records Preservation Task Force, charged with making recommendations for the preservation and appropriate distribution of these irreplaceable documents. There was already a moratorium on the destruction of documents dating before 1860, however documents post dating 1860 remained at risk.
This legislation was effective immediately, as provided by Section 39, Article III, of the Texas Constitution, having received a 2/3rds majority vote in the Legislature. “I sought to have this bill take effect as soon as possible, to prevent any chance of these documents' destruction in anticipation of the Commission adopting their new retention rules later this year.”
Instrumental to this legislation receiving passage was the support it received by State Senator Joan Huffman, the bill's Senate sponsor, and Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. For their support throughout the committee process, I would also like to thank Multi-District Litigation Judge, Mark Davidson, who brought this matter to my attention, Mr. Bill Kroger, head of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Records Task Force, former Harris County District Court Judge, Ken Wise, and Texas Tenth Court of Appeals Chief Justice, Tom Gray.
Sarah Davis represents West University Place, Bellaire, River Oaks, Braeswood Place, Southside Place, portions of Meyerland and Montrose, and the Texas Medical Center, and is a graduate of Baylor University and The University of Houston Law Center.