Frequently Asked Questions about
Legislative Research & Legislative Intent

Frequently Asked Questions Asked by our Customers

Our Frequently Asked Questions page is broken up into five categories: General, Technical Issues, Custom Research, Store Research, and Miscellaneous. The questions are laid out below. Simply click on a question of interest to read the answer.

General

Technical Issues

Custom Research

Store Research

Miscellaneous

General

Question: What is legislative intent?

Answer: “Legislative Intent” is the term that the courts have given to their analysis of the historical documents originally generated when the statute in question was considered by the Legislature. Click here to learn more about Legislative Intent.

To learn more about statutory construction in court, visit our Points & Authorities page.

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Question: What types of materials does your research include?

Answer: The types of materials we collect for research of legislative intent and history generally includes: all amended version of the bill, its final history, all surviving legislative committees’ analyses and their legislative bill files, the author’s and/or sponsor’s legislative bill files where available, the Governor’s bill file, and any other related legislative committee file that may have been generated on the bill.

For custom research, we look for predecessor and competitor bills since the legislative history of the enacting bill would naturally include those earlier or contemporaneous failed attempts. We also provide state agency reports and interim committee reports and studies that may have generated the bill or the section language of interest. For a store research , these background materials may not be included, but could be ordered separately if needed.

For a more detailed explanation of the materials and differences between custom and store research, please visit our Services Page.

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Question: What is the difference between custom research and the store?

Answer: There are several important differences between Custom research and Store research. For a detailed side-by-side comparison of the two, please visit our Services Page.

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Question: What do the page numbers on the documents mean?

Answer: Over the 35+ years that we have been collecting and compiling legislative history, we have developed a very specific set of bates stamps according to each type of file. We have done this to make the documents more distinguishable and easier to locate. To see what each marking means, please see our Research Aids and Policies.

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Question: How do I submit these documents to the court?

Answer: Although you should always review your specific jurisdiction’s rules on submitting documents to the court, we offer helpful discussion for a few jurisdictions on our State Points & Authorities page, under the heading “Offering Materials in Court”. Take me to your Points & Authorities Page.

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Question: How do I determine which bill or bills is/are relevant?

Answer: Since we charge a flat fee per bill ordered, narrowing your interest in a section to a subdivision, term, or phrase can minimize your costs. One of our attorneys can walk you through the history of a section to help narrow your research focus. If the history of a section is very complicated, you may want to order a trace of the section. For more information on traces, see the answer to the next question.

If you are not able to focus on a particular part of a section and are interested in the complete legislative history of a particular section, we are happy to provide the legislative history for all of the bills affecting the section, whether they are substantive or technical in nature. You may also consider ordering the complete substantive legislative history and avoid paying for nonsubstantive measures. The best way to determine your needs is to speak with one of our attorneys or request a free quote.

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Question: What is “tracing,” how does it work, and when do I need it?

Answer: Tracing is one of the services we provide for state and federal research. If your section(s) of interest has a very complex history, it can be helpful to narrow your focus by determining what part of the statutory language is your research focus, then ordering a trace from us to determine which bill(s)
brought in your language, prior to ordering legislative history research. With a trace, we provide to you a copy of every chapter that affected your language of interest along with a report with our recommendations given your focus.

In addition to statutory traces, we can also trace administrative history of regulations for
both state research and federal research.

The best way to determine if a trace will help you with your research needs is to speak with one of our attorneys.  Click here to contact us.

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Question: Why does your quote for research include bills not listed in the statute annotations in the code book, on Westlaw, or Lexis?

Answer: As legislative intent research specialists, we are well-equipped to determine the full history of a statute because our archives includes 40+ years of records of statutory history and our experience has taught us to use various cross-reference source materials in determining any statute’s true legislative history.

Over the years we have discovered that the official competing annotated code books and online legal services do not always provide the full or accurate history of a statute. For example, in some cases, statutes were recodified within a new section and the annotations failed to provide information about the historical derivation, where, perhaps, a client’s language of interest may have originally developed.

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Question: What do you provide that I cannot get online or from my county law library?

Answer: Many states and the federal government maintain websites with some legislative materials available. While resources vary by website, they generally only have amended versions of bills and general analyses on measures for the more recent years. What these websites do not have are committee files, author files, nor governor files which we can often obtain. Online resources also do not reveal or link you to relevant background reports or studies, nor tell you about competitor or predecessor measures that might be relevant. Finally, most of these websites, both state and federal, do not cover years prior to the early 1990s. Regardless of the year of your research, we can find all available documents that just are not accessible on the internet.

While your county library can be an excellent resource for legal research, they do not have access to state facilities and committees. We go right to the source of the history in order to provide you with a complete picture of the legislative history directly from the legislative committees, the State Archives, State Law Library, state agencies, and university libraries. In addition to not having any of the materials discussed above, the county libraries also do not have the capacity to determine if your research focus was generated by an earlier or contemporaneous effort in the Legislature.

To read more about the kinds of materials we can generally locate for your state or jurisdiction of interest, visit our State Research page and our Federal Research page. Or, if you have specific questions, please Contact Us.

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Technical Issues

Question: Are my research materials text-searchable?

Answer: Due to the constraints of the available technology, our documents are not currently text-searchable. We can attempt to make materials text-searchable on a case-by-case basis for a fee if this is desirable. There is no guarantee that our effort will be successful nor that the process will catch every single word. This is especially true where we have gathered very old materials, or hand-written documents. If you are interested in receiving text-searchable materials, please contact us to discuss your options.

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Question: In what format will I receive the materials?

Answer: All of our materials are saved as Adobe Acrobat® documents. If you do not already have Adobe Reader®, you can download your free copy from their website.

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Question: How long will my materials be posted online?

Answer: For custom and store research, your materials will be available for convenient download on our site for 30 days. When you first download your materials, we recommend that you save them to your hard drive or your company’s server so that if you need to access them after they have been removed from your account on our website, you will have a saved copy. If for some reason you do not access your materials within the time frame provided, please Contact Us regarding fees for re-posting the research.

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Question: What do I need to know about the documents to make my research easier?

Answer: We have compiled several Research Aids that will guide you in your interpretation of the documents provided in your research project. To see our Research Aids and Policies, Click Here.

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Question: Do I need special software to view the materials?

Answer: All of our materials are saved as Adobe Acrobat® documents. If you do not already have Adobe Reader®, you can download your free copy from their website.

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Question: Why must I download my PDF file before viewing it?

Answer: In many cases, the PDF documents we create are necessarily large.  If you attempt to open a large file across the internet, your computer may freeze, but by downloading the file, you should be able to avoid any problems. Additionally, if you download the file, you can then save it to your computer for future reference.

If you need any assistance downloading your documents please call (800) 666-1917 or email us at quote@legintent.com.

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Question: What if I reached the download page, right-clicked to save the document(s) to my computer and the download will not start?

Answer: We test each link to ensure that your PDF documents are downloadable. If you encounter problems, it is a strong possibility that your company has filters which prevent the downloading of certain materials. We encourage you to speak with your in-house IT department to see if they can download the files for you. If you are still experiencing download problems, please call (800) 666-1917 or email us at quote@legintent.com.

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Question: I ordered a net-posting, now what?

Answer: Once we fulfill your research request based on the time-frame you selected, you will receive an e-mail with instructions for accessing your file on our website. This e-mail will include a username and password to access your materials. Proceed to www.legintent.com and select “login” on the gold menu bar.  We recommend that you save all materials posted to your account to your computer for future use.

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Question: I received the instructions for my net-posting and cannot log in, why not?

Answer: Before we post materials to your account, we test your login to ensure that it is working. The most common solution to a login failure is simply to hit “submit” a second time. If you are still having trouble logging in, double check the username and password we provided you or give us a call at (800) 666-1917. Or visit our Contact Page.

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Answer: If you are having any issues downloading your materials, and your question is not answered above, please give us a call at (800) 666-1917, and we will find a way to get you access to your materials.

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Question: How can I get my PDF documents to print correctly?

Answer: We encourage you to not print your documents as it is so much easier to read the documents on your computer screen. With the bookmark function in Adobe Acrobat®, all exhibits are linked for easy movement from exhibit to exhibit; and if you received our custom research which includes a Legislative History Report and Analysis, all references to research documents in the Analysis are hyper-linked, marked in blue lettering, for easy movement to the document cited.

If printing the PDF research is essential, we have encountered two common problems relating to printing out the documents. The first is that when you try to print you see a window that says “spooling” and the second is that our document markings are not printing out with the documents. If you are experiencing either of these problems please view our Print Help Page. If you are experiencing any other problems with printing, call at (800) 666-1917.

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Question: What should I do if I get a notification that I must enable cookies?

Answer: Generally, this instruction can be ignored. If, upon logging into the store, you get a message saying that cookies must be enabled to view the page, simply click submit a second time. If this does not take care of the problem, please give us a call at (800) 666-1917.

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Question: I ordered my materials, but it has been several weeks since they were posted, and I don’t see them when I login. Where can I find them?

Answer: If you did not access your materials within the time frame that they were available on our store, or if you accessed the materials, but did not save them to your computer, please contact us to find out if there will be any fees to re-post the materials. Generally, if the research is only a couple months old, we will re-post the materials for free within three days time or for a fee if it is needed faster. If the original research was posted longer than a few months ago, there may be fees to re-post the documents. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

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Custom Research

Question: What do I get with a custom research order of a bill?

Answer: Custom research includes:

  • All surviving legislative materials related to the history of the bill that affected your code section or language of interest
  • Our objective report on the bill, tailored to your research focus, prepared by an attorney
  • Our declaration authenticating the materials to assist submission in court
  • Background materials including the legislative history of competitor or predecessor bills, committee and task force reports, or materials maintained by the bill’s sponsor.

COST: We charge a research fee per bill, on a sliding-scale, based upon how soon the research is needed, anywhere from same-day to three weeks.

For an example of what you may receive in a custom order please visit our Sample Page. This information is also available on our Services Page.

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Question: How quickly can I get my research materials?

Answer: We offer a variety of time frames tailored to your statutory or regulation research needs. Our turn-around ranges from same-day, when feasible, to several weeks. Please visit our State Research page or our Federal Research page to learn more about the options available to you. Or, Click here for a Free Quote from one of our Attorneys.

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Question: How much does your research cost?

Answer: Our fees vary depending on the jurisdiction of research (states or federal), the type of research (administrative or statutory), and on the time-frame you request. To see the kinds of fees that you may expect, please visit our State Research page or our Federal Research page. Or, Click here for a Free Quote from one of our Attorneys.

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Question: Will there be discussion of my section, subdivision, clause, phrase, word or sentence in the materials?

Answer: We cannot promise that the Legislature discussed your particular section, subdivision, clause, phrase, word or sentence. Whenever possible, we will point you to discussion in the materials collected regarding your language of interest in our report.

However, even if we are unable to locate specific discussion regarding your language of interest, your own more careful review of the documents may reveal helpful discussion on the issue before you. If not, you should be able to draw some conclusions based upon the assumption that the language of interest to you being added or amended by the bill in question was intended to be consistent with the overall goal of that particular legislation. Whenever you are unable to find specific discussion regarding your research question, the analyses contained in the legislative committees’ bill files, the governor’s post-enrollment file, and the author’s file on the bill may provide you with an arguable assessment of the goals and purpose that you could apply to your particular situation.

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Do you provide legal opinions on legislative intent?

Answer: We are an objective legal research firm and cannot provide a legal opinion one way or another regarding your research issue.

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Store Research

Question: What kind of materials can I expect from a store research order?

Answer: At our store, bill histories can be purchased for immediate download as follows:

  • Legislative materials from our archives that relate directly to your bill
  • Immediate access to downloadable materials in pdf form
  • There are some limitations to this research that you can review here.

COST: We charge a flat rate of $300 per bill. We also charge a flat rate to confirm that the research you purchased is complete or to provide a declaration for these same documents to submit into court.
Contact Us for these fees.

For an example of what you may receive in a store order please visit our Sample Page. This information is also available on our Services Page.

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Question: What should I do if the store is not accepting my credit card?

Answer: First, check that the address and name information is identical to that of the card holder. The information you enter for the business or personal card must match the information on file with the credit card provider. If the store still does not accept your card, please check with the provider to ensure the card is still valid. If the card still does not work, Contact Us.

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Question: Once I purchase the legislative history of a bill from your store, when can I access the materials and for how long?

Answer: Once payment has been made with your credit card, it should be only a few minutes before you are instructed by email to download the bill documents you have ordered. The time can take from two to ten minutes before you receive your email instructions and link.

The materials will be available on our secure website for 30 days. We recommend that you save the materials to your computer for future access.

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Question: What if I cannot locate the bill(s) that interest me?

Answer: While we have the largest private collection of compiled legislative histories, our archives do not include every enactment. Also, we are currently digitizing our files— a process that will take years to complete. If your particular bill of interest is not available at our store, please contact us to discuss options for ordering custom research.

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Question: What if two entries appear for my bill?

Answer: Due to the large volume of archived materials, there may occasionally be duplicate entries for the same bill. If you encounter this, please call us at (800) 666-1917.

If you encounter this after our business hours, proceed by purchasing the first entry. Please also send an e-mail to our webmaster at feedback@legintent.com to notify us of the two entries.

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Question: What should I do if I order the legislative history from your store and later need to submit the documents to court or confirm I have the complete history?

Answer: We can confirm the completeness of store orders and provide declarations verifying the documents. If you think you may need to order one of these services, please contact one of our attorneys who can walk you through your options and the fees. Please note, we usually need a few days to provide these services. Click here to contact us.

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Question: When searching for the bills affecting my code section, how can I be sure which bill is the correct legislation to purchase on your store?

Answer: While it is not a perfect resource, a good starting point for determining relevant history is using annotated statutory code books or online legal resources. At the end of the statutory language, there will be historical notations of years and chapters (i.e., “1979, c. 314”) that indicate there was a bill in that year, enacted as that chapter, which affected your code section. Sometimes, the annotations will include explanations as to each year to help you pinpoint your specific language being affected. This does not always occur, so you must review each of the years/chapters listed to determine what changes were being made for each statute. Once you have determined which bills are of interest, then you can go to our store and order that specific bill(s). If the history noted in the annotated sources is too complex or appears too time-consuming to review on your own, we provide a “tracing” service for set fees determined by your deadlines.  Furthermore, if you are concerned that the annotated history is incorrect, which we have found in our own experience happens with some frequency, you may wish to Contact Us.

If you are interested in searching our online store for research, please click here.

If you are searching and you are not sure if the bill number matches the chapter, you can always Contact Us to verify that information for you. We are currently in the process of adding chapter information to the search results.

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Question: I know you have researched a particular bill, but I do not see it available for purchase on your store, why?

Answer: While we have the largest private collection of compiled legislative histories, we have not yet uploaded every history we have researched. This may be for a variety of reasons: some bills and their histories are not conducive to the store, some histories were too recently researched to be uploaded, and other histories simply have not yet been cataloged at our store. For more information, and to learn about your options, Contact Us.

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Miscellaneous

Question: Is Legislative Intent Service, Inc., making an effort to go green?

Answer: As a company, we take pride in the fact that our earth-friendly efforts save us and our clients time, money and resources.

  • Our company is nearly paperless. We use high-volume scanners in our office and portable scanners in government offices to create and maintain digital copies of our files.
  • By “delivering” materials electronically, we save paper and transportation costs. For our clients, this means no shipping and copying costs and not having to wait until the next day to receive a physical delivery.
  • Our researchers in the field use public transportation where feasible.
  • We have retrofitted the office with more efficient lighting.

For these efforts, we were recognized by the Sacramento Sustainable Business Program in 2009 for “commitment to environmentally friendly practices and taking voluntary action to conserve resources.”

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Question: For which jurisdictions do you provide research?

Answer: We research all 50 states’ statutes and regulations as well as Federal statutes and regulations. For more information about your jurisdiction of interest, please visit our State Research page or our Federal Research page. Or you can Contact Us.

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Question: Who uses Legislative Intent Service, Inc.?

Answer: We have a wide-variety of clients: attorneys, courts, law librarians, professors, paralegals, historians, researchers, lobbyists and reporters, trade associations, and businesses among others. Click here to see what some of our clients have to say about us.

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Question: How Can I get free MCLE credits through Legislative Intent Service, Inc.?

Answer: There are two ways to get free MCLE credits with Legislative Intent Service, Inc. Please read about our different free options here.

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Question: Are Tom and Bill still around?

Answer: Tom Stallard is now the sole owner of Legislative Intent Service, Inc. Bill Keller retired from the firm a few years ago. For more information about Tom, click here. For more information about the history of the company, click here.

Bill Keller is available as an expert witness on legislative history and intent. You can contact him at www.calcodes.com/.

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