Welcome back!

Georgia State Capitol--Atlanta Georgia Photo by atlexplorer on flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/atlexplorer/3491664639

Georgia State Capitol–Atlanta Georgia

You might think this post is about welcoming students back for the semester! Ha!

(Seriously, we are happy to have you all back in the library. It is great to see the library and its resources in full swing.)

In fact, it is time to welcome our state legislators back to session! The Georgia General Assembly convened Monday, January 14, at 10 AM, and our representatives in the State Senate and House of Representatives are already hard at work.

If you visit the Georgia General Assembly site, you will find access to all the goings-on. If you want to review any of the 19 pre-filed (filed prior to the kickoff of the legislative session) bills in the house, go right ahead. Subject matter of prefiled bills ranges from tampon education and taxes to exempting retirement benefits from military service from income tax to repealing the 18th Amendment regarding prohibition from the Constitution of the United States.

Of course, there is plenty of other information to be found on the site as well. It is possible to follow the committee meeting schedules, and live stream the Senate chamber and the House of Representatives chamber.

If you are curious about what has happened in prior sessions, not only can you read a bit about the history of the General Assembly, which started operation in 1777 and has followed its schedule since then. It has met in all of the locations for the state capital, Savannah, Augusta, Louisville, Milledgeville, and Atlanta. You can also search for prior proposed and enacted legislation from earlier legislative sessions.

Celebrate Constitution Day

Alexander Hamilton is a trending founding father–joining the ranks of George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison. Today is the day to celebrate the fruits of founding fathers. It’s Constitution Day!

Page 1 of the Constitution, available for viewing at http://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/downloads

The United States celebrates Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17. See 36 U.S.C. 106.  The observance is to “commemorate the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution.” 36 U.S.C. 106(b). Prior to the official celebration, Constitution Day, Inc., promoted the commemoration.

Not only can you use your legal research tools to locate the law–either the codified statute or the Public Law–that contains the observance and information about its subsequent amendments, but you can also find cases that mention Constitution Day.

If you would like to learn more about the history of Constitution Day, consider consulting Professor Garfield’s article, “What Should We Celebrate on Constitution Day?”

One of my favorite resources for researching the constitution is provided by the U.S. Government Publishing Office: The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. A comprehensive treatise–covering the Constitution from start to finish–includes references to almost 6000 cases. If you are researching a constitutional issue and are looking for a great starting place, this is a very helpful research tool.

Of course, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) also provides excellent information about the founding documents–the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, which are available for viewing in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.

Study Room Booking Improvement

I am happy to share an improvement we have made to the law library study room booking system.

The actual process of making a reservation will be simpler. Simply select the start time for your reservation and use the drop down menu that will appear at the bottom of the screen to set the end time!

Screen capture of updated study room booking system.

We encourage you to try out the system and see for yourself just how easy it is to make your own booking. It will be faster for you, also, when you want to pick up your key.

Other policies remain the same:

The rooms are for two or more law students. Rooms can be checked out for up to 3 hours per day per Campus ID.

At least two members of the group must be present within the first 10 minutes of the reservation to check out the door key. A group that is more than 10 minutes late forfeits the reservation.

Reservations can be made in person or online up to one week in advance of the reservation date.

Library System Improvements

The Law Library, with University Library, will be changing the interface for our catalog. If you use gilfind.gsu.edu or gil.gsu.edu to search for library items, you will be redirected to our new search system on Friday, May 26.

The new system offers some improvements! You will be able to log in to view your library account using your campus ID and password. When searching, you will be able to narrow and focus your results list using fewer clicks. The new system should also make it easier to request items from other University System of Georgia libraries.

We in the Law Library look forward to working with you as we implement this new system!


Screen capture showing results of a search in the new system. May 22, 2017.

Coloring in the Library

You may have noticed the coloring materials available at the seats near the SHELF* in the library lobby.


Coloring supplies in library lobby. Photo by Meg Butler.

Coloring is fun and some studies indicate it is great for stress relief. In other words, it is perfect for a quick study break during the lead up to exams.

Sam Briggs, a 1L, suggested that we post the completed pictures, so folks can see the images they have worked on. If this encourages folks to take a few minutes and color, even better! For now, we are posting the completed sheets in the library lobby.

If you are a member of the College of Law mindfulness group, you may want to try coloring as another way to meditate, focusing on the coloring, staying in the lines, the patterns in the pictures, etc.

If coloring is not your thing, the library recently purchased The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation.  You can find that in the 6th floor stacks, if you’d like to borrow it.


Completed coloring page, image of Statue of Liberty. Photo by Meg Butler.

*The SHELF is the name for the large computer in the library lobby, which students are also welcome to use.

Lights, Camera, Atlanta!

The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia

By Daniel Means [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta is a hot destination for filming, I’ve heard.  I see evidence of that in my neighborhood and just outside the College of Law!  Just this weekend, Bambino Films blocked off Auditorium Place for filming the upcoming Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx film “Baby Driver” by the M Deck and around campus.

Recent productions around Atlanta have included the last “Fast and Furious” movie, the “Hunger Games” series, “The Walking Dead,” “Selma,” and “Anchorman 2.”  Of course, Tyler Perry Studios in Southwest Atlanta has produced a number of movies, not just the popular Madea series.

How is all this made possible?  In part because the State of Georgia provides a great deal of support for film and tv production.  In fact, we have a state office (the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Guide Office) dedicated to helping producers bring their vision to reality.  The office maintains a database of property that people have submitted to serve as a film location, hosts an online directory of Georgia crew and production services, and links productions to local business and industry leaders.

Perhaps more important are the tax benefits of filming in Georgia.  There is a flat tax credit of 20% of the cost of production (minimum investment of $500,000) for qualified productions in Georgia.

How to find out the benefits (and costs) of filming in Georgia?  Easy!

First, check the statutes—state tax credits will be covered in state law. A quick search of the Official Code of Georgia turns up Section 48-7-40.26, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act.  Check the annotations in an annotated code, and you might find “Lights, Camera, Action…Incentives,” by Kevin Potter, an article published in the Journal of Multistate Taxation and Incentives, describing the impact of the entertainment industry on local economy, as well as explains the Georgia tax incentive—as well as those of select other states.

To fully understand the processes involved, it’s critical to check the regulations.  Again, the annotated code provides some indication of where to begin that search.  The Georgia Department of Economic Development, Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division, wrote the regulations for the application and qualification process for the Film Tax Credit under the Act.  The Department of Economic Development regulations are found at section 159-1-1.01 and following in the Georgia Compilation of Rules and Regulations.  The Georgia Department of Revenue is responsible for administering the tax credits.  Those regulations are found at section 560-7-8-.45 of the Georgia Compilation of Rules and Regulations.

What other costs could there be?  Don’t forget that a permit is necessary in many cases!  To find the rules for permits, check the city or county website.  In Atlanta, the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment provides support and guidance for production companies working through the permitting process.  Of course, if you want the rules underlying a posted permit fee schedule, you should check for city or county ordinances.  In the case of Atlanta, Chapter 46, Article IV of the municipal code governs entertainment filming.

To recap, state statutes governing tax credits provide an incentive, while state regulations provide further explanation of how to apply the tax credit.  Secondary sources explain the function of the tax credits in the economy and compare Georgia with other jurisdictions.  Local ordinances govern the permitting process, setting forth the requirements that production companies must follow to actually film a movie in my neighborhood or on campus.


Students often ask about ways they can improve their research.  They say they want to be more efficient.  They say they want to be more effective.  They want to use technology proficiently, to support their work.  They know that employers are interested in hiring candidates who will do legal research as needed, keeping costs to a minimum.

The Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology (ALERT) Program is a non-credit program developed by the Law Library that provides students with additional opportunities outside of the College of Law curriculum to develop their legal research and technology skills.  Students, through a survey, identified the topics that are included this semester. Please RSVP if you would like to attend any of the sessions!

Upcoming next week is the sixth topic this year–Formatting a Word Document.  Roxanne Greeson, who works with the College of Law and the GSU Center for Instructional Innovation, will be presenting on the topic of Formatting a Word Document.  The presentation will help you to use the tools available in Microsoft Word to assure that your documents are formatted consistently and efficiently.  The program will happen twice:  5 PM on February 24 and 2:50 PM on February 25.

The next topic for the year is Legislative History.  Terrance Manion, Librarian and Director of Information Technology, will take you through the process of doing legislative history research.  We have some great tools in the library for gathering a federal legislative history, such as the ProQuest Legislative Insight database.  We also have print materials, such as Nancy Johnson’s Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories that are helpful.  The Legislative History program is scheduled for noon on March 2 and 5 PM on March 3.

The final topic will be Research Parties and Expert Witnesses.  Meg Butler, Associate Director for Public Services, will share tools and tips for using law library resources to identify and evaluate expert witnesses and parties.  The program is scheduled for noon on March 21 and 5 PM on March 24.

We hope to see you at the programs!