Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law

"How To Find Pending State Legislation: In most states, you can use the internet ( to read the text of pending state legislation and check on its status.

However, if for some reason, you want to find hardcopy text of pending state legislation, here are some tips.

If you want to examine a piece of legislation that is currently before your state legislature, probably the best way is to call your local elected representative’s office and ask for a copy of the bill. If you know what the bill concerns and, if possible, who is sponsoring it, you probably won’t need to know the number of the bill.

However, if you want to use your local law library (or your public library if it is large enough to carry state legislative materials), follow these steps:
(1) Determine the number of the bill.
(2) If you don’t know the bill’s number, find out whether the legislature prints a subject index to current legislation. If so, use the index. If not, call your elected representative’s office and ask for the number.
(3) Ask the reference librarian whether your legislature publishes a daily or weekly journal summarizing current legislative activity. If it does, locate the listing for the bill by its number and determine its status. (For instance, is it still in committee, or has it passed both houses?) If there is no journal, ask your elected representative or the bill’s sponsor to find out the bill’s status.
(4) Find our whether your local law library receives copies of the bills (called “slip laws” as they are produced and amended. If so, locate the latest version of the bill and read it." -From, "Legal Research: How To Find & Understand The Law" By: Elias & Levinkind

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