Friday, May 02, 2008
The key to effectively researching Maryland legislative histories is to first read a couple of articles by Mike Miller, the former director of the Maryland State Law Library: "Ghost Hunting: Searching For Maryland Legislative History" and "Deciphering The Codes: Researching Legislative History In Maryland." For bills going back to the mid 1990's, a large amount of information can be found online using the Maryland General Assembly site. Remember to check the Fiscal Note attached to the bill: this can be a key item in compiling a legislative history. A key piece of the puzzle not available online, though, are the bill files which contain the Committee Reports and testimony of those who supported the bill. For bills enacted between 1976 and 1995, you can find the bill files (on microfiche) at the Thurgood Marshall Law Library and at the University of Baltimore Law Library. For bill enacted outside of that period, you'll have to contact the Department of Legislative Services. As a courtesy, they'll email you one PDF copy of a bill file. After that you'll have to pay.