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September 27, 2011

Utah's Redistricting Efforts

redistricting.jpgThe Utah Legislature, through authority from the state constitution, redraws district boundaries every ten years, based on the results of the most recent U.S. census.

According to the 2010 census, Utah's population increased by nearly 24%, which earned the state fourth U.S. congressional seat. In addition to redrawing the U.S. congressional districts, the redistricting process will also redraw state senate and house districts as well as school board districts.

You can learn more about the 2011 redistricting effort online at the Redistrict Utah website. Here, you can see various redistricting maps drafted by state legislators, learn more about the redistricting process, and see archived materials from the 2001 redistricting process online.You can also submit comments and try drawing your own redistricting map.

There are two upcoming Redistricting Committee meetings scheduled this week at the State Capitol. All meetings are open to the public and will be streamed live on the Utah Legislature's website.

If you missed any of the prior public meetings held throughout the state, you can read reports from and listen to meetings onlne. In addition, a Special Session of the Utah Legislature will convene beginning Monday, October 3rd to to address redistricting.

Buyer Beware - Do Your Research Before Paying for Court Forms

moneyThe Utah State Courts' website - www.utcourts.gov - provides a wealth of information and free forms.

Library staff feel terrible when patrons tell us they paid hundreds of dollars for divorce papers when we know they could have completed the paperwork using the courts' website. We feel even worse when they are told that their papers aren't sufficient. Before you pay for online forms, check our website to see whether a free, court-approved form is available.

Some of the forms provided on our website are fill-in-the-blank. You can either print a PDF version and neatly handwrite the information, or you can use the Word (in some cases WordPerfect) version and type the information. Remember, however, that there is not a form available for every situation. You may have to draft your own pleadings.

Our website also offers the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP), which guides you through a series of questions and generates a packet of papers that you file with the court. While there is a $20 fee to file papers generated with the program, OCAP is otherwise free to use and is designed to be user-friendly. OCAP is available for these common court case types:

  • Divorce
  • Parentage (child custody, support and visitation, and paternity issues, but not as part of a divorce case)
  • Landlord-tenant (for both the landlord starting eviction proceedings, and the tenant responding to an eviction case)
  • Guardianship of a minor
  • Protective orders
  • Civil stalking

Helpful Resources

  • If you have questions about how to complete forms or want feedback on papers you put together, or if you need guidance on your case, we strongly encourage you to speak with a Utah attorney or visit one of Utah's free legal clinics, at which you can speak with an attorney for free for a short amount of time.
  • Watch our 8-minute presentation, How to Read a Legal Pleading in Utah, to get a tour of basic pleading format.
  • See Form 1, Caption & Signature Block, for the format for the top and bottom portions of a court pleading.

  • September 26, 2011

    Free Federal Rules Ebooks

    free federal rules.JPGThe Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence are now available for free as ebooks thanks to a partnership between the Legal Information Institute and the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction.

    The ebooks are compatible with iPads, iPhones, Nooks and Kindles and any device that supports .epub files.

    The three ebooks are complete through December 1, 2010, and contain all Advisory Committee notes. Use the table of contents, internal links to cross-referenced rules and external links to the U.S. Code for easy navigation and research.

    For more information and to download the free publications, visit Ebooks for Legal Education.

    Wireless Password: feast

    keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 26, 2011 is feast.

    More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

    September 22, 2011

    Give Suggestions on Improving Government Websites

    governmentwebsites.bmpHave you ever visited a government website and thought of ways it could be improved?

    Until September 30, you can contribute your ideas online at the National Dialogue on Improving Federal Websites page. This website is part of the .gov Reform Initiative to help cut costs and improve services to the general public.

    You can comment on any aspect of federal websites, including search features, navigation, privacy and security, or accessibility. In addition to submitting your own ideas, you can also vote to agree or disagree with other users' comments.

    Anyone can comment on improving federal websites, but you have to sign up for an account before you can submit your ideas.

    September 20, 2011

    Jury Service in Utah

    jury.jpgHave you been summoned to serve on a jury in a Utah court? You can find information about jury service and even check if you qualify for jury service in the online Jury Room. Find out what to do if you've been summoned or directed to appear at the courthouse.

    Do you still have questions? Check out the
    Frequently Asked Questions
    about jury service or view a video about jury service in Utah.

    For information about your local court and to contact the jury clerk, use this page to find the your county or court location.

    September 19, 2011

    Wireless Password: exist

    keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 19, 2011 is exist.

    More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

    September 16, 2011

    Online High School Education

    highschool.jpgThe 2011 General Legislative Session saw the passage of SB 65, which created the Statewide Online Education Program. It has been effective since July 1, 2011, and was enacted as Title 53A, Chapter 15, Part 12 of the Utah Code.

    The Statewide Online Education Program allows eligible high school students to earn credit by taking online courses. For the 2011-2012 school year, students can receive up to two credits through the program.

    Many school districts have begun offering online courses, such as the Jordan School District and Nebo School District. Some have even implemented their own online education programs, such as Provo School District's eSchool.

    For information on all Utah school districts that are offering online courses, visit the State Office of Education's Public Education Online page.

    New Court of Appeals Briefs

    The library has received 22 Court of Appeals briefs. The docket numbers range from 20080811--20100404 (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 12, 2011

    Wireless Password: drone

    keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 12, 2011 is drone.

    More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.

    September 08, 2011

    10th Anniversary of 9/11

    september11.bmpWe are approaching the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Many federal agencies and educational institutions are observing this event with online memorials and resources, including the following:

    To find out more about resources documenting and memorializing this important day in history, visit USA.Gov's page on 9/11 Commemorations and Information.

    In Utah, volunteer organizations around the state are commemorating 9/11 with a Day of Service and Rememberance. You can find ideas for volunteering and see a list of organizations looking for project volunteers and donations.

    September 07, 2011

    Good Landlord Programs in Utah

    apartment.jpgMany cities throughout northern Utah have adopted Good Landlord Programs, including Brigham City, Ogden, and West Valley City.

    Good landlord programs help landlords understand property management requirements and how to keep rental properties safe from illegal activities. Cities that have passed Good Landlord Program ordinances require landlords to get a business license, and participation in the Good Landlord Program reduces the cost of the business license fee.

    Salt Lake City is the most recent Utah city to adopt a Good Landlord Program, passing a city ordinance that became effective on September 1, 2011.

    Participation in the Good Landlord Program requires training that is available through the Utah Apartment Association. See the UAA Calendar of Events for class listings near you.

    September 06, 2011

    Wireless Password: charm

    keyboard.JPGThe wireless password for the week of September 5, 2011 is charm.

    More information about wireless access in Utah's courthouses.