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Compiling State Legislative Histories (with information on Indiana Legislative Documents)

Describes state legislative documents, basic strategies to use in gathering state legislative publications, and select sources to be used in determining intent for state legislation. Information on Indiana legislative documents is presented.

Introduction

Since statutory language is written broadly and can seem ambiguous, lawyers, judges, and other researchers often need to figure out the precise meaning of a statutory provision. That determination is the primary purpose for compiling a “legislative history.” The secondary function of a legislative history is to document the legislative process through the record of publications associated with a piece of legislation.

Although the need to determine intent is just as valuable for state statutes as it is for federal statutes, the research sources available on the state level are far less available and the research process can be much more fragmented.

This research guide describes state legislative documents and where to find them, and identifies secondary sources and other resources that can be used for state legislative history research. 

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