Fla. Legislative History Documents Hierarchy established by Courts:1. Staff analysis2. Bills3. House and Senate Journals4. Committee hearings5. Debates6. Governor’s statements
When is legislative research necessary?• Tracking of new and pending statutes• When the statutory language is ambiguous and statutory interpretation results in a “doubtful meaning” Dept. of Rev. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 905 So. 2d 1017 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005).
From Bill toFlorida Statutes Bill is passed by Bill is published Most session laws the Fla. as session laws in codified are Legislature Laws of Florida arranged by subject in Fla. Bill #: Session Law: Statutes S. 1840 2009-79 Section 210.011
Florida Legislative History 1988 – present Complete at Archives Some Online Some at FSU Libraries Mid-1970s – 1988 Complete at Archives 1969 – mid-1970s Some documentation Pre-1969
CAVEAT:Bills in Florida go through a lengthyprocess of consideration by one or morecommittees, as well as floor debates.However, very little documentation of thisprocess is published.
Finding Committee Hearings• Not printed; recorded only on CD/ audio tape – No index – Poor tape quality – Discussion is general, not specific• Committees keep tapes for 2 years.• Legislative Library for one year• State Archives(Need bill #, committee name, and date from bill history to access from the Archives)
Finding Governor signing statements • Vetoes or addresses • Available from: • State archives • House or Senate Journals • Sometimes Governor’s website
Finding House and Senate Journals – Voting records – Text of floor amendments – Committee action – Governor’s veto statementsNot particularly useful in interpreting statutes. Courts use it to look for an accurate accounting of the formal steps taken when a law is passed, e.g., First Reading; Second Reading; Third Reading.
Finding House & Senate Journals Research Center in print: KFF 18.H6 1897-current Online: 1998-current Next day availability when legislature is in session
Finding current and pending legislative information http://www.flsenate.gov/
Finding current and pending legislative informationhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/default.aspx