3 of the Most Interesting Presidential Elections of Our Nation’s Past

Now that the 2016 election cycle is (finally) coming to a close, it's probably safe to say that many Americans are getting tired of hearing about both Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. While this may seem like the most contentious, over-the-top elections ever, our nation's history has actually seen some pretty crazy presidential shenanigans. Here are some of the most interesting presidential elections from America's past. Presidential... dueling? The 1800 election, in which Americans had to choose between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, was so strange that it led to the 12th Amendment of the Constitution. Before this addition, the federal ... Read More >

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Juror Racial Bias

A Colorado man will get his day in court -- once again -- after jurors on his case were said to have made racist remarks during deliberation proceedings. Normally, Colorado state rules and federal statutes restrict cases from being re-opened for juror testimony after an initial ruling has already been reached. But in the case of Miguel Pena-Rodriguez, legislative history may need to be changed after a juror reportedly assumed his guilt "because he's Mexican." Pena-Rodriguez was working as a horse trainer at a race track in Colorado in 2007 when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting two teenage girls in the women's restroom. Though ... Read More >

34 States Protect Parents Against Child Abuse in Light of Religious Exemptions

Across the nation, there are many federal regulations meant to protect children from child abuse and parent neglect. But new controversial exemptions concerning religious beliefs have caused debates in nearly every state. In 34 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, there have been numerous state rules meant to protect parents from religious persecution if their child's medical treatments conflict with the religious beliefs of the household. Additionally, according to the data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, some state rules have religious exemptions for criminal child abuse and ... Read More >

Wacky State Laws You Won’t Believe

As Americans, it is easy to only become familiar with laws that have gained a lot of media attention. Take the legalization of gay marriage for example. This law gained global attention, and you would have been hard pressed not to find a citizen nationwide who had not heard about the new federal legislation. It has been more than 200 years since the U.S. Constitution was created, and since then, there has been a total of 27 constitutional amendments added to the defining doctrine of our nation. But there is a complicated or unknown history for many state rules and federal regulations that many Americans are unaware of, considering at any ... Read More >

How to Write Your Own United States Code Legislative History

It's 2016. That means that it's been well over 200 years since the Constitution was created. That's a lot of time for things to change, and yet to date, there have only been 27 amendments made to that all-important constitutional document. How do we get laws or state rules to change? The first step is to know where you're coming from. For over 100 years, lawmakers and policy drafters of individual state regulations have looked to the federal constitution and to legislative intent, or the statutory history of a law, to decide how to progress. Sometimes, the best path forward is made clear from the steps we've taken before. What do you ... Read More >

New York City Council Approves 5 Cent Fee on Plastic Bags, Effective Oct. 1

In the latest legislative news, New York will join California in its quest to go green while grocery shopping. In early May, New York's City council convened, putting the final seal of approval on a citywide bill that will ban the free distribution of plastic grocery bags, instead requiring grocery stores and similar establishments to charge a five-cent fee to whoever needs plastic bags. On Thursday, May 5, the City Council voted 28 to 20 on the bill that will require certain retailers to collect fees on each carryout bag taken. When it comes to federal law, President Obama has 10 days to veto or sign the bill once it has been passed. But ... Read More >

Why Is North Carolina’s ‘Bathroom Bill’ So Controversial?

There have been plenty of controversial federal regulations and state statutes in the past. Considering that the Constitution was written over 200 years ago, it's no surprise that our government has had to make several changes over the course of federal legislative history to adjust to the times. Around 300 bills are hanging around waiting for Senate action at any given time, and only one-third of all bills proposed to Congress are generally enacted in the first year of a session. A lot of crazy laws are proposed, but a lot of them are passed over by an unknowing public. North Carolina's so-called "bathroom law," House Bill 2, aimed at ... Read More >

Vote for “To Peep or Not to Peep!”

If you feel inclined to vote for dioramas made out of sugary, marshmallow animals, please take a break from that other national election, and vote in the American Bar Association’s annual “Peeps in Law” contest.  Voting will take less than a minute (no registration required – you just need to be on a desktop or laptop) and the deadline is midnight tonight! Our extremely creative researcher, Ian Midiere, produced a fantastic diorama about the Apple vs. FBI iPhone dispute.  Ian is off to law school at the University of California, Davis, next year and we will miss him!  You can see additional images of the diorama, and see what Siri is ... Read More >

Senate Bill 277 of 2015: The Vaccine Bill and Legislative Intent

Senate Bill 277 of 2015 was the massively controversial vaccine bill that roiled California for months in the spring and early summer of 2015. Since Governor Brown signed this bill on June 30, 2015, Legislative Intent Service, Inc. had the opportunity to research this bill. Much to the chagrin of our on-site researcher, Nick Weis, this was one of “biggest bills” documents-wise, ever. Nick spent hours scanning over 12,000 pages of committee file material on Senate Bill 277. There are several useful documents regarding Senate Bill 277 available through the legislature’s website, but this file material contains valuable notes, ... Read More >

Apple vs. the FBI – A Peep Depiction

Legislative Intent Service visualizes the Apple vs. FBI legal debate ... with Peeps. This week, Legislative Intent Service submitted its inaugural entry to the American Bar Association Journal's Peeps in Law competition. Crafty lawyers from across the country have taken up the task of creating a law-related diorama starring Peeps, everyone's favorite least-favorite spring time treat. For this year's entry, we at Legislative Intent Service decided to highlight the ongoing legal battle between Apple and the FBI over the right of the government to demand a "back door" code be created in order to access private information located on Apple ... Read More >