CALI Lessons – Statutes & Legislative History

Hi all,

Indexes and Table of Contents 

Some of you are not familiar with Indexes and Table of Contents (TOC) as you might be.  You will find indexes and Table of Contents both in print and online.

For example, treatises have  indexes and Table of Contents.  Many times when you use a print treatise you look at the  TOC to see what is covered in general and then look at the index to find the page where your topic is covered.  Both TOCs and Indexes are also available online.  The online version allows full-text searching which sometimes can be very useful and sometimes not so much as you know.  An index is designed to provide  straight forward access to appropriate areas of the book.  You may need to use a couple of different terms until you find the right one for that index. And, many times indexes use cross-references to get you to use term used in the index.

Indexes can be very useful in locating statutes.  Again, cross-references can indicate the term that is used in the index.  Also, if you look up Adoption for example, you will see  list of all the statutes under adoption and this will give you a view of the entire area.  You may be looking up Consent but you may see another applicable statute to the legal issue that you are researching.

Here is the link to the article, Go Ahead Google Then Do a Subject Based Search Student Lawyer

You can also find it in Module 6 in TWEN.

Session Law and Codes

Many of you need to review the relationship between session laws and codes.

Think about I`m Just a Bill -Schoolhouse Rock (recording 3:00

Remember that Bill became a LAW…A SESSION LAW.   When bills are passed by the house and senate and signed by executive in both states as well as the U.S. Congress, they become laws – session laws.  These laws are organized and published  in chronological order.  Called rightly enough Session Laws.  Note there are variations on the title in states but the concept is the same.  And, as you know session laws can amend and repeal law so if you want to know what the current law is you may need to look at many session laws.

To avoid this problem, the session laws are codified, the current laws are organized by subject.  For example, the Florida Statutes are the current laws organized by topic and the Laws of Florida are the session laws.

Link to the Florida Statutes and Constitution page:  

Legislative History

How a bill becomes a law is fascinating.  You may want to skim the daily news for what is happening in Congress and the state legislatures to learn about the process in action.

For example, take a look at the June 26th article,  Senate Approves $4.6 Billion Bill for Border with Fewer Restrictions

 The article discusses the Senate and House bills on emergency humanitarian aid for the southwestern border and possible next  moves.

It is also available in Module 4 in TWEN.

Please let me know your comments and questions.