California Government Signed These New Laws Into Effect for 2018

Even though it's been over 200 years since the U.S. Constitution was created, new laws go into effect on a regular basis. And with the beginning of the new year, now is a popular time for states to put new state regulations into effect. In fact, California recently signed multiple state regulations. If you're a California resident, or just curious about what rules are changing in the state, you should know the new laws we'll be discussing in this article. Baby-changing tables in men's rooms: For dads out with their babies, they'll no longer have to face the difficulties of finding a place in public to change their babies' diapers. Thanks ... Read More >

The Colloquialization of Crime: Why Understanding the History of the Law Matters

With the newest revelations about the communication between the Trump Campaign and a Russian lawyer who allegedly had ties to the Kremlin, many pundits and reporters are asking the same question: Is collusion a crime? Despite the speculation and the outrage that is circling the news of the day, the fact is that, except in antitrust law, there is nothing in federal statutes and regulations that makes collusion a crime. The difficulty comes from the way that collusion has been used in the past few months. In many cases, the word is used as shorthand for any seemingly inappropriate, illicit, or illegal coordination that may or may not have ... Read More >

Bodie’s ghosts live on

"Bodie ghost town" by Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. People who enjoy ghost towns have been known to visit one of California’s most famous examples: Bodie, in Mono County. High above the treeline and subject to brutal eastern Sierra Nevada winters, Bodie is a well-preserved gem of a town. The site of a gold strike before fires decimated much of it, a small portion of Bodie still stands today. Its interiors are covered in dust and memories and, they claim, left just as they were when the state deemed it a state park in 1962. In fact, California coined a new term to describe its upkeep of the town: “arrested decay.” It’s ... Read More >

But what does it mean? The ‘gut and stuff’

But what does it mean? is an occasional series where we here at Legislative Intent Service explore the meanings of some legislative terms. Today we explore a slang term: The “gut and stuff,” or the “gut and amend.” In general, “gut and stuff” legislation was amended such that the Legislature “gutted” a bill’s original provisions, then “stuffed” the bill with wholly new ones. The particulars of this practice may change from state to state. For example, in Oregon a “gut and stuff” bill has been given entirely new language, but must remain similar enough to the original bill’s subject matter as to still fall “under the measure’s ... Read More >

We’re Breaking Up: 4 Bizarre Divorce Laws You Won’t Believe Are Real

Divorce cases are rarely simple for a number of reasons, and if you do some legislative history research, you'll find that there are more than a few legal statutes out there making things more perplex. Here are just a few. Blaming a Third Party. Believe it or not, seven states including New Mexico and Mississippi have legal statutes that make it possible to blame the breakdown of a marriage on a third person, who can even be sued for huge sums of money so long as there's proof. This is called the "alienation of affection" theory. Making Divorce Illegal. In the more than 200 years since the Constitution was first created, there have ... Read More >

3 Facts About the Constitution You Probably Didn’t Learn in High School History Class

There are many different things that make the United States, one of the most important of which is the Constitution. Though you may have learned quite a bit about it in your high school history class, there are some seriously fun facts about this important document that were probably left out. Here are just a few. It Almost Had Some Weird Amendments. In the 200 years since the Constitution was first created, there have been a total of 27 amendments, but there were almost more than that. In 1893, one amending legal statute was proposed, which would have changed the name of the country to the United States of Earth. In 1916, it was proposed ... Read More >

Three Constitutional Amendments You Won’t Believe Legislators Actually Proposed

It's been more than 200 years since the Founding Fathers created the constitution. To date, there have been a total of 27 constitutional amendments, and thankfully, those are the only ones. In the two centuries since its creation, Americans have tried to pass some rather strange amendments. Luckily, after a proposed amendment makes it through Congress, it needs to be ratified by three-fourths of the states, so none of these bizarre legal statutes have made it through. Here are just a few of the ones that almost did. The Council of Three Amendment. In 1878, there was a proposed constitutional amendment to replace the president with an ... Read More >

Legislating Animals

LEGISLATING ANIMALS:  Since before a New York court decided Pierson v. Post, animals have been a source of interest in legal circles because they provide sport, companionship … and food.  As a staff member for an Oregon legislator, I heard all about the childless constituent who was lobbying desperately to stop the ban on the ownership of exotic pets.  The photos of her and her capuchin monkey were pretty cute, but ultimately, the legislature directed the Department of Agriculture to not issue any additional permits. Every now and then, we here at Legislative Intent Service, Inc. get to research fascinating and emotionally-charged animal ... Read More >

Three Head-Scratching Facts You Didn’t Know About the U.S. Legal System

In your time doing law research, there's a pretty good chance you've stumbled across a strange legal statute or two. For example, Sterling, Colorado has a legal statute forbidding cats from roaming around unless they're wearing a taillight. What makes such legal statutes even stranger isn't their seeming lack of legislative intent, but rather the system that spawned them, if you think about it. Here's how it's weird. Passing a Law Is a Lot of Work Turning a bill into a law is a lot of work. First it's introduced, and then handed off to a committee who makes changes to it and votes on it. Once the bill passes their muster, they put it ... Read More >

Four Laws That Should Not Still Be on the Books But Still Are For Some Strange Reason

The United States' democratic legal system might be used as a model for other countries across the world, but it itself was not an entirely original concept, having deep roots in other countries' legal theories. In fact, not only does the state of Louisiana still use some traces of French law, but the United States legal system developed primarily out of the English common law system. Just before the American Revolution, Sir William Blackstone published Commentaries on the Laws of England as a complete overview of English common law, which was crucial as the nation's founding fathers founded the nation. Considering this deep, ... Read More >