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 >

Immunization at heart of three bills

In January, California officials went public with the information that a December visitor to Disneyland may have infected several others with measles. The next month, California lawmakers took aim at the “personal belief” exemption to immunization by proposing a bill – SB 277 – that would eliminate it. While this bill captured headlines even before it was introduced on February 19, it is not the only pending bill addressing immunization. A few days after Senators Pan and Allen and more than a dozen of their colleagues co-authored SB 277, Assembly member Cristina Garcia introduced Assembly Bill 1117.  As introduced on ... Read More >

Ancient Laws You Won’t Believe Actually Existed

Did you know that Ancient Egyptian law, which dates as far back as 3000 BCE, had civil codes that were likely broken into 12 books, and were based on the concepts of tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality, and impartiality? Legal history -- the study of the history of laws and how they've evolved over time -- dates much farther back than most people think, and includes concepts and legal statutes that would surprise most people. Here are a few of the most surprising finds our legislative history research was able to dig up. The Ancient Celts Protected Animals' Rights. According to an ancient Celtic legal statute, it is illegal ... Read More >

Presidents’ Day: Recognizing Leaders … with a Day Off!

Recognizing Leaders … with a Day Off! This Monday marks Presidents’ Day (or President’s Day … or Presidents Day, depending on who you talk to), which is held annually on the third Monday in February.  The federal government still refers to the holiday as George Washington’s Birthday, but several of the states have chosen to recognize Abraham Lincoln, as well as other presidents, and refer to the holiday as “Presidents’ Day.  In California, government agencies call the holiday Presidents’ Day, however Education Code § 37220 still refers to the third Monday in February as “Washington Day,” and dictates that ... Read More >

California Considers End of Life Bill

CA State Senator Lois Wolk introduced Senate Bill 128 on January 20, 2015, as lead author, to add new statutes to California’s Health and Safety Code relating to end of life.  Senate Bill 128 proposes to add new Part 1.85 of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, entitled “End of Life Option Act,” to be comprised of new Health and Safety Code sections 443 through 443.18.  According to Senator Wolk’s press release  [], Senate Bill 128 is modeled after Oregon legislation and other states where aid-in-dying has been ... Read More >