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September 30, 2009

New Digitally Authenticated Collections in FDSys

GPOauthenticationseal.JPGThe U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has recently announced on its Federal Digital System (FDSys) blog that several collections have been digitally signed and authenticated, including the Weekly and Daily Compilations of Presidential Documents. Several of the FDSys collections are already authenticated with digital signatures, including the Congressional Directory and United States Statutes at Large.

What does digital authentication mean? Documents published online can be manipulated or copied, so there is a risk of finding inaccurate government information online. The U.S. GPO adds digital authentication signatures to ensure that its online publications have not been altered or copied. When you open any digitally authenticated document on GPO Access or FDSys, you will see a pop-up box giving you detailed information about the document's authentication status.

You can find out more about digital signatures of government publications at the U.S. GPO Authentication page.

September 28, 2009

Banned Books Week 2009

Banned Books Week, held the last week of September, highlights books that have been banned or challenged in libraries. Each year during Banned Books Week, the American Library Association and other supporting organizations promote the freedom to read and celebrate the freedoms found in the First Amendment.

The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

To Kill a Mockingbird
- a Depression-era story in which lawyer Atticus Finch plays a pivotal role - was last challenged in 2007.

Wireless Password: flood

IMG_1851.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 28, 2009 is flood.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

September 24, 2009

Social Networking with Federal Agencies

Federal Computer Week recently listed the top 10 federal agencies with the most Facebook fans as well as well as the top 10 federal agencies with the most followers on Twitter.

Agencies with the most Facebook fans include:
White House
Marine Corps

Agencies with the most followers on Twitter include:
White House
CDC Emergency

You don't have to have a Facebook or Twitter account to view updates on either service. However, if you would like to make a comment on a Facebook page or send a message to a Twitter account, you'll need to sign up. And if you're signing up for Facebook, become a fan of the Utah State Law Library as well!

September 22, 2009

Pay Traffic or Criminal Fines Online

Do you need to pay a traffic or criminal fine?

Instead of mailing your fine or visiting the courthouse to make your payment, you can now pay online using your Visa or MasterCard. Begin at www.utcourts.gov/payments and enter the case or citation number.

If you're having trouble finding your case or are unable to make a payment, it may mean the citation has not been filed with the court; your case requires an appearance before a judge; or, if the case is in Juvenile Court, online payments are not available at this time.

September 21, 2009

October Classes

columnsOur October class list is here!

Juvenile Court Basics
Thursday, 10/1, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Topics include child welfare proceedings, delinquency proceedings, rights of juveniles and the role of the Guardian ad Litem.

Small Claims Basics
Thursday, 10/8, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, and an overview of appealing a small claims case.

Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
Friday, 10/9, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

Guardianship of an Adult Basics
Thursday, 10/15, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Topics include who can be a guardian, why you might want a guardianship, the difference between a guardianship and conservatorship, the rights and responsibilities of a guardian, how to request a guardianship appointment, and how to terminate a guardianship appointment

Landlord-Tenant Basics
Thursday, 10/22, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

New class coming in November ...
Collecting a Judgment Basics
Thursday, 11/12, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Topics include identifying a debtor's property, writs of garnishment and execution, exemptions and satisfaction of judgment in civil and criminal cases.

All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

Wireless Password: early

IMG_1851.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 21, 2009 is early.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

September 17, 2009

Could you pass the naturalization test?

Yesterday's post on Constitution Day listed four questions that may appear on the naturalization test immigrants must take in order to become U.S. citizens.

Did you get them correct?

Q: If the president and vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?
A: The Speaker of the House.

Q: The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
A: 435.

Q:We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
A: Six years.

Q: What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
A: Speech, religion, assembly, press, and petition the government.

September 16, 2009

Constitution Day

On September 17, 1787 - 222 years ago - the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the U.S. Constitution. Five years ago Congress designated Thursday, September 17th as Constitution Day, a day to recognize the importance of this enduring document.

To become a United States citizen, immigrants must pass a test that includes questions about the Constitution, U.S. history and the structure of our government. The testing officer asks up to 10 out of 100 questions that are available for immigrants to study prior to the test.

Take a sample naturalization test online or check out these sample questions:

1) If the president and vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?
2) The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
3) We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
4) What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

Check back tomorrow for answers.

More Court of Appeals Briefs

The library has received additional Court of Appeal briefs. The docket numbers range from 20060949 to 20080914 (list not inclusive).
If you're looking for a specific brief, contact the library by phone (801-238-7990) or email to make sure we have it. If you can't come in to make copies yourself, we offer a document delivery service for 25ยข per page and will scan the briefs and email them to you.

September 15, 2009

Monitor House, Senate & Committee Action via RSS

The Law Library of Congress provides RSS feeds that allow you to monitor the most recent bills and resolutions considered on the floor of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The library also provides a feed that provides information about chamber action, committee meetings, and joint meetings of Congress.

Check out all the feeds available through the Library of Congress, or narrow your feed topic to legal issues.

If you're new to RSS feeds and want to read about how feed readers can keep you up to date with information, check out the Library of Congress' explanation about RSS feeds.

September 14, 2009

Wireless Password: dolly

IMG_1851.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 14, 2009 is dolly.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

September 11, 2009

Utah Government Publications Online

govpubs.JPGInterested in Utah agency publications that might not be available in print? Many government publications are "born digital"; that is, published online without a print version. The Utah State Library has developed a searchable online digital library of state and local agency publications, as well as federal publications about Utah.

Browse the digital library by topic or by agency. There are also specialized collections to search, including the Utah Public Health Library and government publications in Spanish. You can even view archived agency websites.

If you want to stay updated on the latest government publications, the State Library also has a blog that describes the lists the newest publications added to the digital library. You can subscribe to updates via email or RSS feed.

September 10, 2009

2008 Mortgage Fraud Report: Year in Review

The FBI has recently released the 2008 Mortgage Fraud Report--Year in Review, which discusses mortgage fraud issues and threats from a law enforcement perspective. Because this report identifies emerging schemes of mortgage fraud, it may help you identify whether you may have been a victim of mortgage fraud. It also provides graphs and maps with information about top markets for foreclosure.

The report identifies these emerging and continuing areas of mortgage fraud schemes:
* Reverse mortgage fraud
* Credit enhancement
* Builder-bailout schemes
* Foreclosure rescue
* Serial property flipping
* Short-sale schemes

To address these issues and other mortgage fraud cases, the FBI created the National Mortgage Fraud Team. For more information about the Team, you can listen to the FBI's podcast about mortgage fraud or read FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole's congressional testimony on mortgage fraud.

If you have a mortgage fraud complaint, you can report it to the FBI using this form.

September 09, 2009

Salary & Benefits Approved by the Legislature

You may have wondered it if pays to get involved in state government: how much does the governor make? Does he get a free car and housekeeping?

According to the Utah Code, the Utah Legislature determines the salaries for "constitutional offices," which include the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor and state treasurer. As of 2008, the last time the Code section was updated, the governor earned $109,900 and received a number of other benefits. The other "constitutional offices" all earned 95% of the governor's salary. In addition, each "constitutional office" gets a car for official and personal use.

Other state officers' compensation is also discussed in the Utah Code.

September 07, 2009

Wireless Password: claps

IMG_1851.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 7, 2009 is claps.

More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

September 04, 2009

New Ban on Robo-Calls effective September 1st

PHONESCAM.JPG A new ban on robo-calls, or prerecorded messages, went into effect September 1, 2009. Companies can no longer make robo-calls without written consent from the consumer first. Without this consent, a telemarketer can face a penalty of up to $16,000 per call. The ban is one of many amendments that were made to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, which were announced last year in the Federal Register.

Some companies have already faced litigation for making robo-calls. Transcontinental Warranty, Inc., is now banned from making robo-calls to scam consumers into purchasing vehicle service contracts. The FTC sued Transcontinental Warranty, Inc., earlier this year in response to numerous complaints received about the company's calls.

Not all types of prerecorded calls are banned, such as calls from banks or charities. The rule applies mostly to telemarketing calls from businesses.

Consumers who receive robo-calls without their consent can file a complaint with the FTC either at donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

September 01, 2009

Common Law Marriage in Utah

UPDATE: (April 2011) Forms and information about "common law marriage" are now available on the Judicial Recognition of a Relationship as a Marriage webpage.


Common law marriage in Utah is the recognition by the Courts that a relationship between a man and a woman is a legal and valid marriage even if no legal wedding ceremony--religious or civil--took place.

The Utah Code regarding common law marriage states that parties may petition the court to recognize a contract between a man and woman who
* are of legal age and capable of giving consent;
* are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage under the provisions of this chapter;
* have cohabited;
* mutually assume marital rights, duties, and obligations; and
* who hold themselves out as and have acquired a uniform and general reputation as husband and wife.

The petition for recognition of common law marriage must be made during the relationship or within a year after the end of the relationship, including if one party dies.

Forms and information about common law marriage are available on the Judicial Recognition of a Relationship as a Marriage webpage.

For more information about marriage in Utah, visit the Utah State Courts page on marriage.