Lawmakers eye University of California fees

Late last month, news that the University of California planned to increase tuition by up to 28 percent over the next five years sparked waves of walkouts and protests throughout the UC system. At the time, the California Legislature was in recess. However, when lawmakers returned on December 1 to start the 2015-2016 session, they wasted no time penning legislation addressing the issue. As of this writing, there are at least four proposals aimed at curbing the fee hikes. All four of them attack the issue from different angles. Senate Bill 15 takes one approach by taking money from the middle class scholarship program and using ... Read More >

Three Unconventional Laws That Allow People to Make Liberal, Wardrobe Choices

Most people in the United States don't need to dig in and do a whole ton of law research to know that they're supposed to wear pants and other clothes in public. What might surprise you, though, is that there are tons of legal statutes out there whose legislative intent is to let you roam the Earth in your birthday suit (or to ensure you're not, either). Here are a few surprising nudity legal statutes our legislative history research was able to turn up! You Can Hike in Los Angeles Naked. Yep. Los Angeles, the City of Angels, has a legal statute allowing anyone to go hiking totally in the buff if they want to. If you do decide to check ... Read More >

Three Seemingly Pointless Laws Still on the Books Today

Any legal professional who's ever done even the smallest amount of law research has more than likely encountered a legal statute or two that seems devoid of any legislative intent at all. Unbelievably, the U.S. legal system is rife with laws that seem to lack any purpose, and perhaps most baffling of all, these laws are still on the books today. To help give you a better idea of just how many of these weird laws there are and how silly they can be, here are a few examples. Felons Cannot Conduct Games of Bingo. Bensalem, Pennsylvania takes its Bingo so seriously that it has a law whose legislative intent is to ban people convicted of a ... Read More >

Four of the Weirdest Animal Laws of All Time

Humans aren't the only ones who have to follow the rules. It doesn't take much legislative history research to turn up an animal law or two, but if you keep at it long enough, your law research will eventually yield some pretty weird legal statutes. Here are just a few strange laws that'll make you laugh harder than a hyena. Wait, You Can't Go Into the Dog Park Without Wearing a What? When writing a legal statute, getting the language and rhetoric right can be a little tricky. Legal English is a dialect that's often used when writing laws to have a dramatic effect. It often has an unusual word order, as its grammatical structures are ... Read More >

Federal judge tackles legislative intent

  What does this statute mean? As we are well aware here at Legislative Intent Service, in the face of ambiguous language, sometimes this simple question has no easy answers. Sure, we have canons of statutory interpretation. But what happens when we need more? In his new book, Judging Statutes, Hon. Robert Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, talks about why it is appropriate consider legislative intent when interpreting ambiguous statutes. Justice John Paul Stevens has just inked a review of Judge Katzmann’s book for The New York Review of Books. In his review, “Law Without History?” ... Read More >

Three of the Weirdest Traffic Laws You’ll Read About Today

About 20% of all civil lawsuits in the U.S. have to do with automobile accidents. Every day, people get speeding tickets, have fender benders, or break traffic laws in a myriad of other ways -- some of which may be stranger than you'd think. Here are some of the weirdest traffic laws our legislative history research dug up. Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road in Quitman, Georgia? It didn't. In Quitman, Georgia, there's a legal statute that forbids chickens from crossing the road. Whether that law was created by a legislator who was sick and tired of hearing that particular joke or if it was created to keep lackadaisical farmers-in line is ... Read More >