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Ohio Primary Law Legal Research Guide

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

What is Legislative History?

Sometimes the meaning of a statute is unclear. Legislative history documents may shed light on what the General Assembly intended when they passed legislation (legislative intent). Legislative history documents are materials issued when the bill was going through the legislative process.

hannah news logoTo identify legislative history documents for a particular Ohio Revised Code section, look at the History/Credits underneath the text of the statute in an annotated code.  Identify the Act (Session Law) you are interested in. 

If the Act was passed 1989 or later, a great place to start is Hannah (Ohio) Capitol Connection . For Acts 1997 and later, the Ohio General Assembly's webpage has many documents accessible.  The main legislative history documents in Ohio are bills and Session Laws, and Legislative Service Commission Analysis.  Older LSC Analysis back to 1962 is on microfilm.  

For more details, see additional pages in this guide:

Steps for Finding Legislative History

Types of Legislative History Documents

Legislative History Documents - Ohio & Federal Compared

The links go to where these documents are available on the free web.  For information on how to find older documents and Lexis/Westlaw links, see Types of Legislative History Documents page in this guide.  

Legislative Process Federal Ohio
Bill Introduced Bill Bill
LSC Analysis 
Committee holds hearing  Committee Prints (research reports) LSC Staff Research Reports
Committee recommends legislation House/Senate Report LSC Analysis
Debates and Votes

Congressional Record - debates

House/Senate Journal - votes

The Ohio Channel - debates

House/Senate Journals - votes

Amended bill sent to conference committee  Conference Report

Synopsis of Committee Amendments

Conference Committee Synopsis

Bill Becomes Law

Slip Law

United States Statutes at Large

US Code

Laws of Ohio (session laws)

Ohio Revised Code

Veto Message

Congressional Record

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents

Governor’s Messages

Persuasive Authority of Legislative History Documents

Courts may or may not rely upon the legislative history documents. In Ohio, legislative history documents are not "of record", unlike federal legislative history, so they are not required to be retained. The weight given by courts to various types of legislative history documents is discussed below. For more info see OJur3d Statutes, Sections 165-168.

Video - OSBA Legislative Process

Ohio State Bar Association Legislative Counsel Steve Stover explains the legislative process, in the context of OSBA recommended legislation.

Recommended Reading