Texas' 2011 voter identification law - which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at the polls - does not comply with the Voting Rights Act, a federal appeals court ruled. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the voter ID law violated the federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections and instructed the lower court to draw up a remedy. It was the fourth time in nearly four years that a federal court found that the law discriminated against or disproportionately affected black and Hispanic voters.
In an opinion handed down last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court held that, where an arbitration is governed by the Texas General Arbitration Act, or "TAA," courts cannot vacate the arbitration award on the grounds that the arbitrator "manifestly disregarded the law." Justice Debra Lerhmann, writing for a unanimous Court in Hoskins v. Hoskins, reasoned that the language of the TAA "could not be plainer" in requiring that a "trial court 'shall confirm' an award unless vacatur is required under one of the enumerated grounds" in the statute, "which do not include an arbitrator's manifest disregard of the law."
The Texas Supreme Court has approved new standards in regards to becoming board certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Members of the Court, as well as the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and their Advisory Committee, worked with Exam Commissioners and the State Bar of Texas to update the certification criteria to make them more flexible. Because of the decreased availability of jury trials throughout not only Texas, but the nation, board certification organizers have been forced to alter criteria to continue to certify potential applicants.
On September 1, 2015, approximately 700 new state laws became effective. Below you will find a brief summary of six new laws that are relevant to the legal profession. For more information on any piece of legislation, please visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us.