Friday, May 02, 2008

Researching Maryland Legislative Histories

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.

16 Comments:

Blogger MSLL Staff said...

The Maryland State Law Library also has bill files on microfilm from 1975-1995.

Mary Jo Lazun
Md State Law Library

4:20 PM  
Anonymous maryland criminal lawyer said...

those histories are quite informational and can take forever to find specific information :/
-jack

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Blogger Michael said...

Sorry if this is slightly off topic. I am trying to understand Bill Files. Do they only contain testimony that supports a bill? What happens to testimony against bills? Can this be found anywhere?

Thank you

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