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The John Marshall Law School Louis L.

Biro Law Library Reference Department


I. Overview of Sources and Coverage Legislative history consists of all the documentation produced during the legislative process, including bills, debates, reports and hearings. Researchers look to legislative history when the meaning of a statute is unclear. In so doing, they wish to discern what the legislature intended when enacting the statute. However, legislative history research is time consuming and often futile, in that there may be no discussion at all of the statutory language in question. Therefore, it is usually a last resort when there are no other sources of law (i.e. case law or regulatory law) that interpret the statute. This is commonly the case with recently enacted legislation. a. Case law Always check the annotations to case law in one of the annotated versions of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) to find cases that have interpreted your statute. There are two such annotated sets: Wests Smith-Hurd Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated (6M, 7M & 10th flrs. KFI1230 .A473 1992) and Michies Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated (6M, 7M & 10th flrs. KFI1230. A462). To be even more thorough, you can also shepardize a statutory provision using Shepards Illinois Citations Statutes volumes (6M, 7M & 10th flrs. KFI1259 .54 2004). b. Regulatory Law An agencys interpretation of a statute may also help clarify its meaning. Be sure to check the Illinois Administrative Code (IAC). The Joint Committee of Administrative Rules (JCAR) publishes an electronic version of the IAC at http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/titles.html A print version entitled Code of Illinois Rules is on the 10th floor of the Library. (10th flr. KFI1235 .A9 2000+). c. Articles Newspaper and journal articles related to the enactment of the law you are researching may also be quite helpful. The explanation of an author who is an expert in the field may be easier to understand than the statutory language itself. Articles from bar journals and law reviews, including the Illinois Bar Journal, CBA Record and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, can be found using the electronic LegalTrac index. LegalTrac is available on the Law Schools computer network. Print indexes are located in stack 6:4 of the Librarys Research collection. d. Statutes and Session Laws Illinois legislative history differs from federal legislative history, in that it consists mostly of the text of the bills and laws themselves and any Illinois House and Senate floor debates that

occurred during their passage. Typically, one starts by finding the text of the law in the current Illinois Compiled Statutes and the Illinois session laws. The official publication of the Illinois session laws is entitled the Laws of the State of Illinois and is located on the 10th floor of the Library (10th flr. KFI 1225). This publication dates back to the inception of the State. It contains the text of the laws as first enacted in chronological, public act number order before the laws are codified (arranged by subject into a code). Older editions of the codified Illinois Statutes (now known as Illinois Compiled Statutes or ILCS) are also invaluable for tracking the evolution of statutory language. e. Bills and Debates As mentioned above, most of Illinois legislative history consists of all versions of the bill and any House and Senate floor debates about it. As mandated by the Illinois Constitution of 1970, publication of the debates began in 1971. Transcriptions of the debates were published in microfiche format from the 77th General Assembly (1971-1972) through the 90th General Assembly (1997-1998). House and Senate bills have also been published in fiche since 1979 starting with the 81st General Assembly. Transcripts of the debates from the 90th General Assembly (1997-1998) through the current the G. A. are available on CD ROM. Transcripts from the current and earlier General Assemblies are now also available via the Illinois General Assembly website (ILGA) at http://www.ilga.gov. A step-by-step explanation of how to locate the debates via the ILGA website is contained in Part III of this Research Guide. f. House and Senate Journals In addition, if you wish to do thorough legislative history research, you should consult the following sources. Both the House and Senate publish journals, which constitute an official record of the actions taken by the legislature. The House and Senate Journals contain the voting records for each bill, text of amendments, conference committee reports and motions. These Journals began publication in 1819. The Librarys holdings date back to 1961. They are arranged in date order on the 10th floor. (10th flr. KFI1218 .I34 and KFI1218 .I44). g. Legislative Synopsis and Digest The Legislative Synopsis and Digest dates from the 1900s and is also located on the 10th floor of the Library (10th flr. KFI1207). The Librarys print holdings date back to 1947. This publication contains summaries of the bills and all actions taken with respect to them. This bill status record is an indispensable tool for tracking the history of a bill before it was enacted into law. The Legislative Synopsis and Digest is published weekly in print. A final annual version is available in fiche. The Library has older editions in microfilm (1879-1987) and fiche (1987-1993). There can be a lag of several years in the print publication of the above titles. However, digitized versions of the House and Senate Journals and Legislative Synopsis and Digest from the current and previous General Assemblies (90th G.A. and later) are available at the ILGA website. h. Hearings Lastly, House Committee hearings have been recorded since 1975 and are available on tape from the Office of the Clerk of the House. The House Committee Clerk's office will provide the tapes at a cost of $5.00 per tape. Contact the office at (217) 782-8100. Senate Committee Hearings are not taped.

II. Legislative Process & Preliminary Steps When conducting Illinois legislative history research, it is helpful to keep in mind the legislative process. In Illinois, as in the U.S. Congress, a bill must pass both chambers, House and Senate, in identical form, before becoming a law. The Illinois Constitution requires that the law be read three times in each chamber. No debates occur during the first reading. There may be debate accompanying later readings. There may be no debate about a bill, particularly if it has been put on an agreed bill list. The Illinois General Assembly adopted the agreed bill process for those bills it deemed in advance to be unobjectionable and therefore, not warranting debate. The legislature may group such bills together and act upon them simultaneously. For an example of how a bill is passed, see Appendix A of this Guide. Once a bill becomes law, it is known as a Public Act (P.A.) and published in the session laws (Laws of Illinois) in P.A. number order. Eventually, the Public Act is codified (put in subject arrangement) and incorporated into the ILCS. 1. Before embarking on legislative history research, you must first identify the law you wish to research by its Public Act number. Using the statutory citation (i.e. 225 ILCS 605/3.1), you can locate the P.A. number at the end of the specific section you are researching. Note that the first two digits of the P.A. number (i.e. P.A. 87-819) stand for the General Assembly (i.e. 87th). In this instance, P.A. 87-819 is the 819th law enacted by the 87th G.A. See Appendix B of this Guide. NOTE: There may be more than one P.A. number listed, because the section may have been amended one or more times over the years. The first P.A. number listed is usually the initial enactment of the law, while subsequent P.A. numbers refer to any later amendments. You may need to look up some or all of the Public Acts listed in order to determine which one contains the statutory language in question. 2. Once you identify the correct Public Act, you must then find the bill number in order to locate any legislative debate about your bill. The bill number can be found in the Illinois session laws, the Laws of Illinois, described in Part I.d. above. See Appendix C. There is a complete set of the Laws of Illinois on the 10th floor at stack 10:17. Volumes from recent General Assemblies can also be found on 6M. In addition, Public Acts are available via the ILGA website from the 90th General Assembly (1997-8) forward. Find the bill number at the beginning of the text. 3. Once you have your bill number, you may wish to obtain a bill status chart that indicates the dates on which you bill was read and perhaps debated. You can obtain such a chart in a number of ways. The Legislative Synopsis and Digest mentioned in Part I.g. above, contains this helpful information, as do the Indexes to the microfiche of the debates on the 6th floor of the Library. Starting with the 90th General Assembly (1997-8) forward, the equivalent information can be retrieved via the ILGA website as described further below. III. Using the ILGA Website The content available at the ILGA website for previous General Assemblies varies. For earlier General Assemblies, especially prior to the 90th G.A. (1997-8), less information is available in electronic format. When a previous G.A. is selected, a menu will be presented showing the content available for that particular G.A. Types of content available include:

a) b) c) d) e) f) g)

LegislationBill Status and Full Text options Votes (Senate)/Roll Calls (House) Public Acts Members Committees Journals by legislative day and calendar date TranscriptsFloor debate transcripts by legislative day and calendar date (transcripts from older General Assemblies are scanned images) h) Summary Reportsvarious reports on the selected GA (older versions are scanned images) As mentioned earlier, transcription of the debates began with the 77th General Assembly (19712) pursuant to the 1970 Illinois Constitution. All House and Senate debates from current and previous G.A.s going back to the 77th G.A. have now been made accessible via the ILGA website. Thus, you will probably never need to use the fiche or CD ROM versions described in Part I.e. above to read the debates. However, as of the date of this Guide, many other materials like Public Acts, bills and Journals are not available at the ILGA website prior to the 90th (1997-8) G.A. so you may still need to use those materials in print or fiche. Also, the transcripts of the debates at the ILGA website are organized by date. While it is possible to search all of the debates for an entire G.A. using the websites search engine, some researchers prefer to focus on particular dates i.e. the dates of the second and third bill readings, as those are the dates on which any relevant debate about the bill are most likely to have taken place. To retrieve such a chart, take the following steps: 1. If you are working with P.A. 93-544, for example, click on Previous General Assembly under Additional Resources at the ILGA home page. Select 93rd General Assembly from the drop down menu and click on Go!. Then go to Public Acts under Legislation and click on listing. Find your P.A. number to pull up the text of the Public Act including the bill number, SB1872. 2. Go back to the 93rd G.A. home page, Legislation & Laws, click on listing and look for your Senate Bill number. When you click on your bill number, you may see a synopsis of the bill with links to full text and bill status or you may immediately see a bill status chart like the one below. (Bill status charts for earlier General Assemblies may look more like straight text without the blue hypertext links).

3. Make a note of the second and third readings or dates of any other important bill action. Then go back to the home page of the particular G.A. (i.e. 93rd ), select transcripts for House or Senate and click on listing. Using the pull down menu, you can then select transcripts for the dates you have noted. 4. Search the transcripts using the Windows find command Ctrl + F in order to find references to a particular bill in the text of the House and Senate debates. Using the bill number itself (i.e. 1872) is often an adequate search term. IV. Updating Statutory Research Many of the sources mentioned in this Guide are also useful for tracking current bills. The ILGA website, for example, is an excellent bill tracking tool. When doing statutory research in print, be aware that bills enacted during the current General Assembly may not be reflected in either the bound volume or pocket part of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. There is always a lag between enactment of legislation and codification. It is wise to check the latest issues of the Illinois Legislative Service (6M, 7M & 10th flrs. KFI1230 .A49) to make sure that your research is as up to date as possible. The Illinois Legislative Service contains the most recent laws enacted in Public Act number order. It consists of a series of colorful pamphlets next to the ILCS set. These pamphlets come out more quickly than the official session laws volumes. Check the table in the latest pamphlet to see if a recent Public Act has affected your statute. Electronic research via services like Lexis or Westlaw will be even more current than the above print sources. V. For Further Information The process and sources described above will provide you with most of the available legislative history material provided by the state. The following titles contain helpful chapters on researching legislative history in Illinois:

Legislative Reference Bureau, Researching Legislative History, http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/lrbres.htm. Wojcik, Mark E. Illinois Legal Research. Durham, NC.: Carolina Academic Press (2003). KFI1275 W65 2003 Reserve & Fac. Display. See Chapter 4 on Statutes. Wendt, Laurel. Illinois Legal Research Guide. 2nd ed. KFI 1275 .W46 2006 Reserve. If you have any further questions about the legislative history materials feel free to ask a reference librarian for assistance. 1/08 ALA APPENDIX A

From Handbook of Illinois Government [Springfield: Office of Secretary of State of Illinois] JK5730 .I44 Reserve


225 ILCS 605/3.1