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Oregon Legislative History: How and Where (but not why)


If you need to know the legislative history of an Oregon statute, please remember:

You need to know something about how a bill becomes a law.  The Citizen’s Guide at the Oregon Legislature’s website will help you with that.
You then need to know HOW to compile a legislative history.  I’ve blogged about Oregon legislative history research guides, but run a new search to find updated links.  For example, on Google, search using words like these: oregon legislative history research.
But remember, Not Everything is Online! (You can find a “Not Online” guide at the Washington County Law Library Document Index website.)
1) From 1971 to 1995, Legislative Minutes and Exhibits were microfilmed.  The microfilm isn’t complete, and won’t include many other documents that are required when you need to compile a thorough legislative history, but it is still a very useful research resource.
2) From 1995 – 2007: Legislative tracings and minutes are on the Oregon State Archives website.  Legislative bills, session law, and some calendars are on the Legislature’s website.
3) Oregon Legislative Hearing Minutes do not exist after the 2007 Legislative Session. (See also this blog post.)
4) From 2009 to the present, you will find tape logs and audio files at the Oregon Archives website. You will also find the audio files at the Legislature’s website.
5) Exhibits from pre-1995 Legislative Sessions are not online.  You will need to go to Salem to find them, either the State Archives or the Legislature, depending on how far back you are researching.
Note: Most people have never compiled a legislative history.  In fact, many legislators don’t know how to compile legislative histories.  I know because I’ve gotten calls from former legislators who need help finding legislative history documents. But don’t despair.  Law and government documents librarians are happy to show them and you how to do this research!
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