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Ohio Primary Law Legal Research Guide: Steps to Find Legislative History

Guide based on Cleveland-Marshall's Ohio Primary Law Research Guide. Covers Ohio cases, statutes, legislative history, regulations, and administrative decisions.

Steps in Finding Ohio Legislative History

1. Look at the Revised Code Section in Page's or Baldwin's. Find prior versions of the code section via the "History" or "Credits" section underneath the text of the code section.  (see Find Prior Versions of a Statute page of this guide)

HISTORY:

RS § 7424; S&S 516; 73 v 40, § 26; GC § 2183; 103 v 65; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 125 v 887 (Eff 7-1-54); 134 v H 494 (Eff 7-12-72); 138 v H     654. Eff 4-9-82.

 

Additionally, the Revised Code may have reprints of committee comments, uncodified session law language or other language indicating intent underneath each code section.

2. Pull the session laws listed in the "History" or "Credits" to see what changes the legislature made to the statutes. See Find Prior Versions of a Statute  . See if the session laws contain uncodified language concerning intent.

3. Find as many legislative history documents as you can in your local law library and on the web: different versions of bills, LSC Analysis, House and Senate Journals, etc. If the legislation is 1989 or later, Hannah (Ohio) Capitol Connection is the best way to start. For bills 2005 and later, many documents are on Lexis (OHLH - Ohio Legislative Bill History). Westlaw (Ohio Legislative History,OH-LH) has various legislative history documents, coverage generally beginning in the early 2000s.  Reminder that we do offer Westlaw to our subscribers physically at Law Library.

4. Look at news articles from Gongwer's Ohio Report or Hannah (Ohio) Capitol Connection. These publishers issue articles concerning legislative actions and developments. News articles from the Cincinnati Enquirer,  Plain Dealer, or other Ohio newspapers may contain articles about newsworthy legislation.

5. Look at treatises and law reviews, especially from around the time the legislation was passed. You may find an article or treatise section saying why the legislation was passed.

6. Contact the Ohio Historical Society for General Assembly Committee Files. 614-297-2546. The Bill Files may contain transcripts of hearings, prepared statements by witnesses, reports, voting records and copies of bills. Ohio Historical Society librarians will search for you, for a fee.

7. For information about the current and the immediately preceding General Assembly, call the Ohio Legislative Hotline, 1-800-282-0253

8. Try the Legislative Service Commission Library, 614-466-2241 for notes of hearings, and for LSC Analysis prior to 1961 (although these are only about a paragraph long.)

9. Contact the sponsor of the bills or the committee chairman.

Representatives contact information.
House Committees and chairs.

Senators contact information.
Senate Committees and chairs.

What is available?

This chart shows what additional legislative history items became readily available what year

1997 & later - The General Assembly's web page made available video of hearing and debates, bills, LSC analysis, and Fiscal notes

1989 - Hannah (Ohio) Capitol Connection materials are available from 1989 on.  These include hearing summaries, Governor's veto messages and Hannah Reports, bills, LSC analysis and Fiscal notes.

1988 - Hannah reports

1961 - LSC analysis on microfilm

1957 - LSC staff research reports

1953 - One paragraph LSC analysis by calling the LSC.  Summary of Enactments. 

1949 - Bill files at Ohio Historical Society

1888 - Bills on Microfilm

1803 - Session laws, House & Senate Journals