The purpose of this page is to identify helpful starting points for researching state legislative histories, which can vary widely. For information about researching federal legislative histories, please visit the Researching Federal Legislative History research guide here: http://guides.law.stanford.edu/federallegislativehistory.
There are many research guides that publish specific information for individual states. If you are interested in one of these guides, we encourage you to review the State Legislative History Research Guides Inventory from Jerome Hall Law Library at Maurer School of Law.
You may wish to start by identifying and reviewing a state research guide to learn more about the legislative process in your state of interest and the publication process for legislative documents. Information on how to locate state research guides is provided below.
You can also review state bibliographies, which identify major print and electronic sources of state legislative histories. Information on some sources of state bibliographies is provided below.
Lexis Advance and Westlaw, both limited to Stanford Law School users by personal name and password, are also sources of select legislative history information. More information is provided below.
For general information about legislative procedures, check out the following:
The Carolina Academic Press Legal Research Series contain state-specific research guidance, including for legislative history research. Using SearchWorks, Stanford's library catalog, you can search the "series" field for "Carolina Academic Press legal research series." This will identify the available legal research guides, which are all located on the second floor of the library (Eyles aisle inside of the reading room).
Additionally, you can conduct an advanced search in SearchWorks to identify other state-specific legal research materials. First, click on "Advanced search":
For example, you could conduct a search in "Title" for "California" and in "Subject" for "legal research." Then you can sort by year (new to old):
Review the table of contents as well as indices for books you locate to identify sections relevant to legislative history research.
LibGuides (Online Research Guides)
There are a number of helpful online state legislative history research guides available. For example, Indiana University Bloomington's State Legislative History Research Guides Inventory identifies research guides by state.
Generally, to locate online research guides for a particular state, you can conduct a Google search for: California legislative history research guide. It is a good idea to compare a few research guides on a particular topic because quality varies.
Finally, you may find it helpful to check local academic law libraries' websites in a particular state; there may be a valuable state research guide created by the law librarians at that institution.
You can review state bibliographies, which identify major print and electronic sources of state legislative histories.
One source of state bibliographies is HeinOnline, which is available to all Stanford University users. HeinOnline offers AALL GD-SIS State Bibliographies, which are produced by members of the American Association of Law Libraries in conjunction with William S. Hein & Co. To navigate to this resource from the HeinOnline homepage, look under "Browse Databases by Name" for "Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf." Click on "Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf" and click on "AALL GD-SIS State Bibliographies." Then click on your state of interest to identify the available bibliographies.
Additionally, you may consider reviewing the State Legislative Sourcebook, located in the Jonsson Social Sciences Reading Room at Green Library. Here is a sample of an entry for Kansas: http://www.statelegislativesourcebook.com/documents/sample.pdf.
Additional sources of state bibliographies are identified below.
Lexis Advance, available to Stanford Law School users by personal name and password, has select state legislative history documents available.
From the homepage, select "Statutes & Legislation" under "Explore Content" and "Content Type":
Next, you can click on "Legislative Histories" under "Content Type":
Then select your state of interest:
For example, if you select California, then you can click on "California Legislative Bill History" to access insight into history of a bill, resolution, or other form of legislation.
Westlaw, available to Stanford Law School users by personal name and password, has select state legislative history documents available.
From the homepage, under "Browse" and "All Content," select "Legislative History":
Next, select your state of interest under "State: Jurisdictions" to see what materials are available for your state:
©Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.