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Oregon Revised Statutes vs. Oregon Laws


I’ve blogged about this before (here), but it is worth mentioning again (in different words) – we get lots (and lots) of questions from people who would not have questions at all, or their legal reference questions would be quite different, if they understood the following. But we’re happy to explain as often as necessary – it feels very good when someone lights up and says, “I think I’ve got it!”

The Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) are different from the Oregon Laws. As I wrote in a previous blog post:

“… if you research “the law online,” please make sure you have the current, official, corrected, authentic, and updated laws of the jurisdiction. For example, the 2007 ORS is not the most current statutory compilation. You will also need to check the 2008 Laws (and Oregon case law, not free-text searchable free online, though individual cases can be found here) which won’t be included in the ORS until the 2009 enactments are codified and published in early 2010.”

I might have worded that a little differently and said, the 2007 ORS is the most complete official codification of the Oregon Laws, but it does not contain the 2008 Oregon Laws. (You can see why this is confusing to non-attorneys or people who are not familiar with law making and law publishing!)

Practically speaking, if you have a 2007 ORS citation and want to know if the 2008 Oregon Legislature amended, repealed, or otherwise rewrote it, you would look in the Table called: “ORS SECTIONS AMENDED, REPEALED OR “ADDED TO”.’

For the 2008 session, the link is from here.

But, don’t forget that errors occur too, both in online and in print publications.

In the future (and you will be reading this blog in the future, we hope), if, for example, you are looking to find out if the 2009 ORS has been updated by a (heaven forbid) 2010 Special Session, you will need to look for the 2010 Table of ‘ORS SECTIONS AMENDED, REPEALED OR “ADDED TO”.’

Got that? Don’t worry. It’s not easy to get one’s mind to wrap around this – and I bet a certain percentage of state legislators don’t know this either – but they will. You can always ask an Oregon law librarian to explain it to you. And, as much as we all love online, these concepts are easier to explain with the print resources. We love those Show and Tell visual aids.

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