Update: These standards are published as Local Government Bulletin F: Records Storage Standards and are available at this address: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm/recordspubs/local.html#localbulletins.
Standards for the storage of local government records have been published in today’s issue of the Texas Register. These standards have an adoption date of April 7, 2013 and have an effective date two years later on April 7, 2015. They establish mandatory minimum storage conditions for permanent records and historic court records, and offer optional enhanced conditions for all local government records.
We are excited to have these standards, required by Government Code §441.025 and Local Government Code §203.048, officially adopted, and we are very grateful to others who laid the groundwork and assisted us in developing the standards. Initial interest in improving storage conditions of historic court records was raised by the Supreme Court’s Texas Court Records Preservation Task Force who spent two years volunteering their time to study the storage conditions of historic court records in Texas. Based on the findings of the Supreme Court’s task force Representative Sarah Davis proposed HB 1559 during the last legislative session to authorize the State Library to establish standards for the care and preservation of historic court records.
In 2012 the State Library’s Commissioners formed a task force of impacted local government officials and representatives of local government organizations to help develop standards that would protect these historic records without placing an undue financial burden on the local governments. The task force met over the spring and summer of 2012 and in October our Commission approved the standards for initial publication for public comment. Based on the comments received some small changes were made for clarity and we finally have an official version with an adoption date of April 7.
Although the standards will be officially adopted on April 7, 2013, the effective date is April 7, 2015. This gives local governments two years to make sure their storage conditions meet the minimum requirements. Over the next two years we are planning many training opportunities to help local governments figure out the best way to meet the minimum requirements or even the optional enhanced standards. These training opportunities start with a presentation at the County and District Clerks Association of Texas (CDCAT) Annual Conference in San Antonio on June 17th. Also, a webinar discussing the standards is schedules for July 24. Stay tuned to this blog; more detailed information about this webinar is coming soon.