Research Legislative History and Intent Webinar
State legislators enact hundreds of bills each year and, after enactment, questions may arise regarding the legislation. The purpose behind compiling legislative intent documents may include:
- Determining why a legislature passed a certain law and what the legislators meant by the language they used;
- Establishing the correct meaning of language in the law and thereby ensuring its correct implementation;
- Understanding the background circumstances that precipitated the introduction of a particular bill; or
- Persuading a court to favor a particular line of reasoning based on the legislature's purpose in including certain language in the law.
Using three states as examples, this session provides guidelines for researching state legislative history and intent.
(Note: This session is not designed to be eligible for CLE credit.)
- Shelley Day, legislative information liaision, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Utah (Moderator)
- Catherine Wusterhausen, coordinator of public services, Legislative Reference Library, Texas: Catherine Wusterhausen is the coordinator of public services for the Texas Legislative Reference Library. She was a reference librarian for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and reference and documents librarian for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission before joining the Legislative Reference Library in 2001. She earned her MLIS from the University of Texas in 1996.
- Eddie Weeks, legislative librarian, Office of Legal Services, Tennessee: Eddie Weeks is the legislative librarian to the Tennessee General Assembly, a position he has held since 1996. He is a 1991 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies and is the author of “Data Rot and Rotten Data: The Twin Demons of Electronic Information Storage” [Journal of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (Fall, 2009; 15:2)]. He is the current Secretary of the NCSL Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section.
- Nan Bowers, legislative librarian, Legislative Research Library, Nevada: Nan Bowers is the legislative librarian for the Nevada Legislative Research Library. She received an MLS degree from the University of Texas in 1977. Nan has worked in a university library in Illinois as an undergraduate, a school library in Washington, two public libraries in Texas, the state library in Arizona, and currently the legislative library in Nevada.