New York State Legislative History for Law Students, Attorneys and Inmates

The BLS Library recently completed its successful series of Spring 2011 Lunch and Learn Workshops.  The fourth and final session on February 23, 2011 covered New York State Legislative History research.  This presentation followed one on February 16th on Federal Legislative History research.  While federal legislative histories are sometimes easier to compile because there are many documents produced by Congress and Congressional committees, such as debates in the Congressional Record, hearings and reports in print, online and in microfiche, New York State legislative history research can be more difficult to track down because of the paucity of some documents produced by the New York State Legislature.

However, things have begun to improve in the last decade.  The New York State Assembly and Senate now provide live coverage on the Internet and on cable television of floor proceedings; the New York State Archives makes bill jackets available online since 1996 and Westlaw has a New York legislative history database, for example.

The BLS Library gets requests for assistance with legislative history research from students, alumni and even from inmates.  We recently had a request from an inmate who was doing research for his parole hearing.  He needed a sponsor’s memorandum from 1975 dealing with the necessity of the parole board to provide reports to inmates on why they were denied parole.  Of course, we were happy to help and provided a copy of the memorandum from the 1975 New York Legislative Annual.

To learn more about New York Legislative History, view the PowerPoint presentation by clicking here.