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JOUR 300/JOUR 481: Legislation

This guide was created for the courses JOUR 300: Reporting and JOUR 481: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Journalism

Tracking federal legislation

Congress.gov is a site maintained by the Library of Congress that allows you to track the progress of federal legislation. It also provides links to committee hearings, reports, documents, votes, and other published information related to the passage of legislation. Information on the site is comprehensive back to 1995 and it contains some older content as well.

For additional information about searching for federal legislation and legislative history, visit our guide.

Tracking state legislation

Hawaii State Legislature banner

The Hawai‘i State Legislature maintains access to bill tracking, committee reports, records of votes, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, and other documents related to the passage of legislation. Coverage is back to 1999. For earlier legislation, consult the Legislative Reference Bureau or the Supreme Court Law Library.

The state legislature does not record or publish transcripts of legislative hearings. The committee chair's clerk may keep detailed notes, which they may or may not be willing to share. Written testimony is available on the Legislature's website. Webcasts of legislative hearings are available as well.

 

Where to look for federal laws and regulations

The United States Code (USC) is the codification of United States laws -- in other words, the laws are arranged by subject, and amendments are incorporated into the text of existing laws. It is published every six years and is updated with supplements. Cornell University's Legal Information Institute provides an easier to use interface for legal research.

New and proposed federal regulations, along with various notices, presidential executive orders, and proclamations, are published daily in the Federal Register. Regulations are compiled into the Code of Federal Regulations, which is updated annually.

State laws and regulations

A handy gateway to state laws and regulations is Findlaw.

Hawaii Revised Statutes is the publication that contains state laws arranged by subject, in which new laws are integrated with existing law. Session laws are the laws as passed in chronological order.

Regulations are a type of administrative law. In Hawaii, state regulations are called Administrative Rules. Each agency issues rules covering subjects within its jurisdiction. Of course, law offices and law libraries usually subscribe to legal information sources that are far more robust than what is available for free on the internet.

City and County Ordinances

The county laws are called ordinances. Ordinances are compiled into the county code.

Hawaii County Code

Honolulu Revised Ordinances

Kauai County Ordinances

Maui County Ordinances