Legislative intent is the “. . . vital part, heart, soul and essence of statutory law; the guiding star in the interpretation of a statute.” (Ballentine’s 3d ed., “legislative intent”) U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated in 1921 that “a page of history is worth a volume of logic.” (New York v. Eisner, 256 U.S. 345, 349 (1921))
Legislative intent refers to the purpose for which a legislative body drafts a law or adopts a regulation, whether that body is Congress, a state legislature, an agency, or the electorate. This legislative purpose or goal can be identified only by examining the documents generated during legislative consideration of the bill or regulation.
Since 1974, whenever federal and state statutes and regulations need clarity and interpretation, attorneys and courts have turned to Legislative Intent Service, Inc. [“LIS”] for thorough research of legislative and administrative intent and history.
Over the years, we have developed research protocols for locating surviving legislative history materials for any time period in federal or state legislative and administrative history. These materials will enable the advocate to understand the existing law or regulation and the cause or circumstances leading to the legislation affecting that law or regulation. Our research results illuminate the legislative body’s solution in choosing to affect particular language chosen for enactment or amendment.
Our staff attorneys guide the legislative and administrative research with a trained research staff. Our legislative history and intent sources include our database containing thousands of legislative histories and rulemaking files, designated congressional depository libraries, and state and university law libraries and archives.
The attorneys communicate with our clients and write reports that analyze these legislative and administrative history materials for them. LIS organizes the research materials for your convenient understanding of the legislative or administrative process affecting your research focus. The documents are scanned and available electronically, without additional charge, thus allowing our clients to download and preserve these materials in their own databases.
In construing the meaning of a statute the courts must consider the history of the subject matter involved, the end to be attained, the mischief to be remedied and the purpose to be accomplished. Frillz, Inc. v. Lader, 925 F. Supp. 83 (D. Mass. 1996), judgment aff’d, 104 F.3d 515 (1st Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 813 (1997).
Legislative intent is an important legal research tool that the responsible advocate cannot afford to overlook in case preparation or defense. LIS is here to provide the authority and documentation needed to help you make your case. Call us to speak to one of our attorneys about your research needs.
For more information, see our Research Aids and Policies.