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California Legislative History


Researching Legislative Intent

A legislative history is a compilation of all documents (bills, amendments, committee reports, etc) preceding the enactment of a statute. It may also include other official and secondary sources that indicate the intended meaning of the law. The goal of assembling a legislative history is usually to demonstrate the intent of the Legislature when it passed the law (the "legislative intent"), in order to apply it to an unforeseen situation or clarify an ambiguous law. 

This Step-by-Step guide outlines the steps in researching California legislative history, illustrates the resources available at the Sacramento County Public Law Library, and suggests additional sources of information. Illustrations are based on the legislative history of California Government Code §429.6, which names Bodie as the "official state gold rush ghost town," and California Vehicle Code §27360, which requires children under eight to ride in a child passenger restraint system in the rear seat. 

 Click here to download this Guide, with step-by-step instructions.   

Updated 6/2014 (kf)