Answered By: Kate Britt
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2018     Views: 1

Compiled legislative histories are comprised of documents that are produced by a legislative body as a bill is introduced, studied, and debated. These legislative documents are often used to help determine the intent behind a law or to clarify ambiguous statutory language. 

Finding a previously compiled legislative history can be a real time-saver, but sometimes you have to compile the history yourself.

Starting Research

  • The Library has research guides for Federal and Michigan legislative history.
  • There are “how to conduct legal research” books and guides in Ref Coll for all states that may provide help on how to conduct a legislative history search for each state. Search the Library catalog for particular resources.
  • Indiana University School of Law Library provides a comprehensive State Legislative History Research Guide.

Resources

Finding Compiled Legislative Histories

  • HeinOnline U.S. Federal Legislative History Library includes full text versions of published legislative histories as well as legislative history finding aids.
  • On LexisNexis: Statutes & Legislation > Legislative Histories. Then choose a jurisdiction or subject area.
  • On Westlaw: Legislative History is on the All Content tab on the main page, in the third column.

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