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State Legislative Documents: A Finding Guide: Legislative

A guide to locating state legislative materials online and in print in Olin Library.


CSG State Directory. Directory II, Legislative Leadership, Committees & Staff. Lexington, Ky. : The Council of State Governments, c1998- Olin JK2497 S79 + (latest volume in Reference)

Guide to State Legislative and Administrative Materials. 2002. Olin Reference KF 1 G94x 2002+
For each state, provides data in standardized format on the availability of bills, hearings, legislative digests, committee reports, debates, journals, legislative manuals and directories, slip laws, session laws, codes, attorneys general opinions, executive orders, administrative regulations, state law guides, etc.Law Library Reference has the 2008 edition.

Waters, Dane M. Initiative and Referendum Almanac. Durham, N.C. : Carolina Academic Press, c2003. Olin Reference KF 4881 A4 2003
"...provides such information as the definitions of initiative and referendum; the roots of the initiative and referendum movement; the history of how the process has been utilized; regulations of the initiative process in each state; legislative attempts to regulate the process; and the role of the judiciary. The book also includes a series of essays by leading scholars and activists about the reforms brought about through the initiative process, and a brief discussion on the future of the initiative process through the eyes of activists and elected officials. A complete listing of all relevant laws associated with utilizing the initiative and referendum process in each state, as well as a checklist of the major steps of which initiative proponents should be aware, are also included in the almanac. The appendix contains a complete listing of every statewide initiative that has appeared on the ballot since 1904; a complete listing of all the popular and legislative referenda that have appeared on the ballot since 1998; as well as other charts and graphs tracking the usage of the process since its adoption in 1898." [publisher's web site ]

Inside the Legislative Process: a Comprehensive Survey of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries in Cooperation with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver, Colo. : National Conference of State Legislatures, 1998.Olin stacks JK 2495 I57+
Loose-leaf. Describes the parliamentary practices within each state legislature, including legislative organization, bills and bill processing, committee procedures, floor action, and general legislative procedures.

NCSL’s Guide to Leaders and Legislatures. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2004 - 2011 . Olin stacks JK2679 D59
"a directory of those who lead the leaders: the Speakers of the House, Senate Presidents, Majority and Minority Leaders who guide their chambers toward producing innovative policies that serve the interests of the American people. It also provides a look at the work of NCSL, the organization that brings all the laboratories of democracy together." (publisher). Ceased publication in 2011.

Dubin, Michael J. Party Affiliations in the State Legislatures: a Year by Year Summary, 1796-2006. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2007. Olin Reference JK2488 D83 2007
"...lists the party affiliation of every state legislator from 1796 through the elections of 2006. Information on each state includes a summary of how its electoral process developed, including the origins and stipulations of each state’s constitution, the terms and size of the legislature, and other details pertaining to the history of the state’s legislative branch" (publisher)

State Constitutions of the United States. Washington, DC : Congressional Quarterly, 2006. Olin Reference KF 4530 M33 2006
Includes the full text of constitutions for both states and U.S. territories, amended and current up through January 1, 2005. State constitutions are also available online through the Constitution Society web site

State Legislative Sourcebook. Topeka, KS.: Government Research Service, annual. Latest volume in Olin Reference + JK 2495 S792
Provides basic data and lists sources of information concerning all 50 state legislative processes, including internet sites, printed directories, office telephone numbers, lobbying registration contacts, and more. your source for news on the states. follows the development of major policy issues on the public agenda in the states. For such topics as welfare reform, land use, taxes, health care and education, the site provides original articles, links to newspaper coverage, and background information at the state level. Daily news summaries are posted each weekday with links to the full stories. For each state, the site maintains a profile of policy issues, current news, statistics, and background information. The web site and its features can be searched by keyword and date, and the site offers Internet resource links and a current awareness service.


Council of State Governments Knowledge Center
Excellent source for current information on state-level legislative issues. Searchable database.

Digest of Motor Laws. American Automobile Association. 1961 - date.
"Summary of regulations governing registration and operation of passenger cars in the United States, Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Provinces of Canada." No longer published in print; older volumes in Olin stacks at KF2230 Z9 A51

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
The electronic information network for state legislatures, providing comprehensive services through web, directory and news servers. It provides immediate access to all NCSL products, plus a research database of more than 500,000 documents encompassing legislative research reports, current and past legislation, statutes, and 50-state surveys.

LexisNexis State Capital

The most comprehensive and authoritative source of legislative and administrative information at the state level, similar to Congressional Universe in appearance and structure. It consists of several sections, the most important of which are:

Bills Allows searching for state bills and state bill tracking reports by keyword and/or bill number
Statutes Search for state statutes by keyword or for statutory code section by citation. Contains full text of state constitutions, also searchable by keyword.
Regulations Provides the full text of state regulatory reports, proposed regulations, state registers, and administrative codes, all keyword searchable.
Issues Offers information from State Net Capitol Journals, LegisBriefs, State Legislatures Magazine, State Legislatures Reports, and articles from newspapers that are considered the state newspapers of record, usually those published in the state's capital (e.g, Albany Times-Union, Austin-American Statesman).
Members Links to the State Legislative Directory, containing state legislators' biographical information, mailing address and phone number.
List of links An annotated set of links to Web sites about the state legislative process, including official state sites and association sites.

Contains some of the same information as State Capital Universe: consolidated state laws, regulations, bill information, state court opinions, etc. Structured quite differently, and more effectively used if you know exactly what you're looking for. Links often connect directly to sites created by state legislatures.

National Survey of State Laws. 4th ed. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 2003. Olin Reference KF 386 N27
While not comprehensive, a very handy overview of state laws in major subject areas. Organized under broad category (e.g., Family Laws) and then by subject (Abortion, Adoption, Child Abuse), compares in tabular form the differences among the 50 states. Includes citations to the primary state laws for further research. Note: Law Library Reference has more recent volumes.

Open States
Provides bill, legislator, committee and event data, collected from official sources. Data is also available for bulk download. Years covered vary by source, but generally extend back several years. (A note about methodology: Open States relies primarily on scraping to collect the data provided on this site. Scraping involves writing custom code to capture the information from each state and as a result is known to be error prone. See the section on methodology for more information.)

Subject Compilations of State Laws
Provides access to over 22,000 bibliographic records from Cheryl Nyberg and Carol Boast Robertson's Subject Compilations Bibliography Series. Many records contain extensive annotations with links directly to articles and other documents residing in HeinOnline. In addition to a searchable database, HeinOnline also includes the exact replicas of the original bound volumes.

Suggested State Legislation
"A series of compilations of draft legislation about topics of current importance to states. CSG [Council of State Governments] publishes SSL drafts in annual SSL volumes. The program does not seek to influence the enactment of state legislation, but to compile draft legislation so states can learn from the experience of others." (website) Available online back to 1988. Also organized by topic. Print volumes from 1965-2009 available at the Law Library KF165 .C85, and volumes from 1984-2014 at Olin Library KF165 .S94.