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Law Research Assistant Guide to the Law Library

This guide is designed to assist UC Law Research Assistants.

Overview

Legislative history refers to the documents produced by the legislature as a bill is introduced, studied and debated.  The intent of the legislature is one of the arguments you can use when arguing how a ambiguous statute should be interpreted.  Legislative histories for major laws are sometimes compiled and published in a single collection. These compilations can be very helpful because they gather all of the legislative sources relating to a law in one place. Therefore, it may be worth your while to determine if one of these exists before attempting to compile the sources on your own.

For information on finding legislative history, use the following research guides & resources:

Tracking Bills

Federal

Ohio

Other States

  • Lexis & Westlaw – just as Lexis & Westlaw have bill tracking for Federal material, they also have it for the states.  Locate the appropriate jurisdiction to find the applicable database.
  • State websites – many state websites have bill tracking capabilities.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, http://www.ncsl.org 

Legislative History Compilations

  • HeinOnline U.S. Federal Legislative History Library  (must be on-campus or UC students & faculty can authenticate for off-campus access) The U.S. Federal Legislative History Library provides a variety of complied legislative histories and also includes the database "Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories".ProQuest Congressional
  • ProQuest Congressional  (must be on-campus or UC students & faculty can authenticate for off-campus access) offers a large collection of complied legislative histories. You can search various ways including (but not limited to): keyword, bill number, or Public Law or Statute at Large Number.
    Coverage: 1790-
  • Westlaw
    • GAO Federal Legislative Histories (Westlaw Database Identifier FED-LH)
      • Legislative histories for most U.S. Public Laws enacted from 1921 to 1995, and PL 104-191, as compiled by the U.S. Government Accountability Office
    • Arnold & Porter legislative history 
      • Federal legislative histories compiled by the law firm of Arnold & Porter.
  • Check UCLID for books in our collection: 
    • In the keyword search fields, enter the name of the law or topic you are searching, and the words "legislative history" (include the quotation marks).

       

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