State Legislative Documents

The Publication Manual of the APA does not specifically address citing state legislative documents.
For material not specifically covered in the Publication Manual, the APA refers users to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

The section below concerns unenacted bills, reports, and hearings from state legislative bodies.

Citing state legislative documents can be complicated. Each state has a different numbering system and slightly different governmental bodies.The Bluebook  uses a fairly detailed set of abbreviations for state legistative documents. Your library may have a copy in their Reference section.

Remember: Your primary concern is to clearly communicate the citation so that your reader can locate it.

State Legislative Bills or Resolutions

When citing state bills and resolutions, include...

  • the name of the legislative body, abbreviated according to tables T6, T9, and T10* (The Bluebook, 2020)
  • the number of the bill or resolution,
  • the number of the legislative body, or if not numbered, the year of the body),
  • and the number of designation of the legislative session.
  • Parenthetically indicate the name of the state, abbreviated according to Table T10, and the year of enactment (for an enacted bill or resolution) or the  year of publication (for an unenacted bill or resolution." (The Bluebook, 2020, p. 137) See: Cornell Legal Information Institute, Basic Legal Citation, § 4-500.State Abbreviations

"Include the name of the bill (if relevant)..."; however, as you can see, some titles can be fairly unwieldy. Use your best judgment about whether the title is needed and how much to include.

Sample Bill header:

State of New York 300--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions. In Assembly (PREFILED) January 5, 2011A
AN ACT to establish a moratorium upon the disposal and/or processing of any fluid which was used in and cuttings from a hydraulic fracturing process outside of the state pending the issuance of a report thereon by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and certain justifications from the department of environmental conservation; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof

Obviously, you will need to make some judgment calls about how to cite these documents, remembering to...

a) ensure that your in-text citation leads easily to your Reference List entry
b) Your Reference List entry includes enough information to help your reader locate the item.

In Text

 (N.Y. Legis. Assemb, 2011)

Reference List:

  • N.Y. Legis. Assemb. A-300. Reg. Sess. 2011-2012 (2011).

Note: Use your best judgment, and be sure to include the legislative body, information about the legislative session, the bill number, and the date.

State Legislative Reports

In the example below, there is no report number and no session number. The governmental body is the New York State Senate and the report was prepared by the Special Task Force on Voter Participation.

Use your best judgment and include enough information to help your reader locate the document, including a durable url.

  •  N.Y. Legis. S. Special Task Force on Voter Participation. Making every vote count: report of the Special Task Force on Voter Participation, 2001.

Note: S. = The Bluebook abbreviation for Senate.

Suggested Abbreviations

Name of State Abbreviations:

Components of Legislative Documents:

Source: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (2020), Table T9:

  • Annals: Annals
  • Annual: Ann.
  • Assembly(man, woman, member): Assemb.
  • Bill: B.
  • Committee: Comm.
  • Concurrent: Con.
  • Conference: Conf.
  • Congress(ional): Cong.
  • Debate: Deb.
  • Delegate: Del.
  • Document(s): Doc.
  • Executive: Exec.
  • Federal: Fed
  • House: H.
  • House of Delegates: H.D.
  • House of Representatives: H.R.
  • Joint: J.
  • Legislat(ion, ive): Legis.
  • Legislature: Leg.
  • Miscellaneous: Misc.
  • Number: No.
  • Order: Order
  • Record: Rec.
  • Register: Reg.
  • Regular: Reg.
  • Report: Rep.
  • Representative: Rep.
  • Resolution: Res
  • Senate: S.
  • Senator: Sen.
  • Service: Serv.
  • Session: Sess.
  • Special: Spec.
  • Subcommittee: Subcomm.

A note about URLs

If you found your reference in an academic database (like Nexis Uni, or Hein Online), the database URL is not included.

If you found your reference on the open web (from a state legislature web site), include the DOI, or URL if DOI is not available, after the final period.

See page 296 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (2020) for more information.