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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.

Online

The Internet allows state legislative bodies to expand the accessibility of state materials and to offer bill tracking and bill digest features.

Free Online Sources and Guides

Lexis

Lexis.com: Legislative Bill History Files

  • Browse > Legal > Legislation & Politics - U.S. & U.K. > U.S. States > Legislative Bill History
  • Legislative history documents include: Bill Analyses, Governor's Messages, Committee Reports, Fiscal Messages, Summary Amendments, and other types

Lexis Advance

  • To find state legislative history documents, go to "Browse Sources" and enter "legislative bill history" in the "Search for a source" box. Choose the source from the results list. E.g., Mississippi Legislative Bill History
  • Or, go to "Browse Sources" and choose "By Category" (Statutes & Legislation), Filter by Category (Legislative Histories), then filter by Jurisdiction.
  • Or, enter search term in main search box.  Post-filter by content type (Statutes and Legislation), Category (Legislative Histories) and Source.

From a code section (Lexis.Com and Lexis Advance)

  • From the link to a Public Law citation in the “History” of an annotated code section
  • Use any of the Stat citations or the P.L. citations to access the Bill Tracking Report from the right hand side (after clicking on the Stat./P.L.) citation.
  • The Bill Tracking Report links to legislative history documents.

WestlawNext

WestlawNext

A state can have up to five different types of legislative documents available, including:

  • Legislative journals (e.g., VA-LH-JRNLS)
  • Messages from the state governor (e.g., WA-LH-MSG)
  • Status reports and chronological history of bills (e.g., WI-LH-REP)
  • Transcripts of hearings and debates (e.g., CT-LH-TMY)
  • Voting records (e.g., NY-LH-VOTES)

The following databases are also available for states:

  • Bill text and bill tracking databases (e.g., CT-BILLTXT, CT-BILLTRK-OLD)
  • Session law databases (e.g., CT-LEGIS, CT-LEGIS-OLD)

To access a state's Legislative History Database

  • From the Directory > All Content tab > Legislative History > choose a State
  • Coverage varies by state and may include documents related to laws passed by the state legislature including bill histories, House and Senate journals and roll call votes, and governors' messages.
  • You can search a state's Legislative History database and apply filters and search within results

WestlawNext (three methods of researching legislative history from a code section)

  • From the Credit(s) of an annotated code section
  • Graphical Statutes
  • While viewing an annotated code section, from the History tab, choose "Legislative History Materials" to access legislative history materials relevant to a statute section, such as committee reports, floor testimony, and executive messages

HeinOnline

HeinOnline > Spinelli's Law Librarian's Reference Shelf >  AALL GD-SIS State Bibliographies

  • Contains bibliographies of state’s legal publications and official state documents