This week in the Law Library we are getting ready to welcome new and returning students and looking at more summer legal research tips on researching legislative history.
Law School Academic Success Podcasts
A Question and Answer podcast session with Prof. McFarland of Hamline University. His comments in this podcast about the first semester of law school focus on the Socratic method, preparing for class, note-taking during class, class participation, “riding out” that “lost at sea” feel common during the first few weeks of law school, the appropriate use of study aids, advice about law school exams, and general advice on doing well in law school. (14:56 min.)
Having difficulty navigating your hectic law school schedule? You’re not alone! Your new hosts, Ashley Baker and Kristoffer Butler, talk to Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, chairwoman of the ABA Law Student Division, about law student life and her goals as chair. They discuss tips for handling a busy schedule, give internship advice, and talk about prioritizing what matters during finals
In this podcast, Profs. Ron Brown and Joe Grohman, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center discuss study techniques for 1Ls. (24:33 min.)
A summary article from a podcast featuring professors who teach first year law students, authors of some helpful guides to tackling your first year of law school, and a student on what you should know before you go.
This Law School Toolbox podcast episode focuses on getting ready to start law school this year, and specifically, how to frame it for yourself during a time affected by pandemic restrictions.
Summer Legal Research Tips
Last week we finished looking at Federal legislative history research. This week we’re going to explore state legislative history research.
State Legislative History
The resources available for state legislative history vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The General Assembly in Ohio, for example, does not maintain a formal, comprehensive record of legislative activity with respect to a particular piece of legislation as occurs, in the U.S. Congress.
Ohio Session Laws
The statutory codes are not official sources of law in Ohio. The Session Laws are the only official source of legislative enactments. The session laws used to be published in the print Laws of Ohio but in 2006, they discontinued publication. Now the Laws of Ohio are available on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. You can also find the session laws on the General Assembly’s website. The Laws of Ohio are the official publication of the Ohio legislative enactments. They are the full text of acts, whether codified or uncodified.
Did you know that not all laws are codified? An uncodified law is part of the law of Ohio and is filed in the office of the Secretary of State. However, because it is not a law of a general and permanent nature, it does not appear in the statutes in codified form. Common examples of session laws not codified include: preambles and recitals; provisions that have only local or regional application; provisions that may apply for a limited time; and provisions that may apply to a limited number of circumstances.
Ohio House & Senate Committee Material
Committee material is very scarce. The House & Senate Journals are the best source of procedural actions taken on a bill. They include things like introductions, referrals to committees, committee reports, floor motions, and votes. Unfortunately in Ohio, committee reports are really just simple statements: “The bla bla bla bla committee reports it back and recommends its passage…” House & Senate Journals can be found on the General Assembly’s website. Archived versions going back to 2003 can be found on the General Assembly’s Archives website.
In Ohio, you can use the committee name(s) to request the House of Representative and Senate Committee Files. The Committee Files may contain transcripts of hearings, reports, voting records, copies of bill and reference materials. You can get these through the Ohio History Connection.
Hannah Capitol Connection is a database that we subscribe to where you can access Ohio documents created during the legislative process going back to 1989. It also includes reporters’ notes of Committee activity which you won’t find on the Ohio General Assembly website but those would not be as complete as what you might find through Ohio History Connection.
Because each state differs on what legislative history resources are available, it is best to consult a state specific guide for the jurisdiction for which you need to do the research. How can you find such a guide? The Maurer School of Law has a guide to help: State Legislative History Research Guides Inventory.