Ohio Legal Research Blog


Legislative detail missing

Dates on web sites are useful. For productive visits to Ohio legislative web sites, certain pieces of information should be in possession: first and foremost, be ready with the General Assembly number. Both the Legislative Service Commission web pages and the General Assembly session law web pages arrange their information by General Assembly session number. The researcher faces some frustration due to this missing detail: the two-year period associated with that G.A. assembly number ...

Common legal citation to Ohio legislative information does not include the G.A. sesssion number, but rather, session law volume number, a bill number, and an effective date. The federal web site Thomas does a good job of providing both bits of information for quicker access. Ohio government web sites should add the years for each General Assembly to its data. Here's a table that will help in the meantime:

  • 119th G.A. 1991-1992 ... v. 144 ... Laws of Ohio
  • 120th G.A. 1993-1994 ... v. 145 ... Laws of Ohio
  • 121st G.A. 1995-1996 ... v. 146 ... Laws of Ohio
  • 122nd G.A. 1997-1998 ... v. 147 .... Laws of Ohio
  • 123rd G.A. 1999-2000 ... v. 148 ... Laws of Ohio
  • 124th G.A. 2001-2002 ... v. 149 ... Laws of Ohio
  • 125th G.A. 2003-2004 ... v. 150 ... Laws of Ohio
  • 126th G.A. 2005-2006
  • 6.11.2006

    Book: Heavy lifting

    Ohio is one of five states profiled in the book Heavy Lifting: the job of the American legislature, by Alan Rosenthal.

    One book review notes that the book "gives masterful insights into the acutal workings of legislatures in legislator-constiutuency relations, legislative processes and relationships between legislators and governors;" (Source: 78 Spectrum: the journal of state government 31, Winter 2005). To read a chapter of the book, further reviews of the book and table of contents, see the CQ Press web site.


    Ohio's legislative history documents

    The Legislative Service Commission posts Conference Committee Synopses and Synopses of Committee Amendments, starting with the 2001-2002, 124th General Assembly. Westlaw has recently added these files to their Ohio databases with identical coverage. Lexis does not carry these Ohio legislative documents at this time.

    The Westlaw legislative history databases for Ohio, OH-LH, OH-LH-REP, OH-LH-JRNLS, and OH-LH-MSG are designated as Premier Advantage databases. Ohio is not alone. Other state legislative databases on Westlaw are Premier Advantage databases, meaning it will cost more ("... per-minute or per-document charges in addition to the cost of printing") if they are outside the Westlaw user's contract. This new Westlaw development is noted by Bill Manz in his Mar./April 2006 New York State Bar Association Journal article about the latest changes in New York legal research options.

    The contents of the Ohio Westlaw Premier Advantage legislative databases are:
    Bill analyses, Committee synopses, Conference Committee synopses, House journals, Senate journals, Governor's messages
    Bill analyses, Committee synopses, Conference Committee synopses
    House journals, Senate journals
    Governor's messages


    The First American West

    For a look at the past in Ohio, try visiting the Library of Congress web site collection called The First American West: the Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820. That time period encompasses the development of the State of Ohio and its government. The project is based on the holdings in the University of Chicago Library and the Filson Historical Society of Louisville, Kentucky.

    A search of the collection turns up numerous works by adventurous individuals who traveled the new territory. One title is: A history of the State of Ohio, natural and civil, by Caleb Atwater, published in 1838. Another is: A journal of a tour into the Territory Northwest of the Allegheny Mountains ... made in the spring of the year 1803. It was published in 1805. Each page of these works can be viewed in full, as the original pages have been digitized. Both of these titles include appendices containing copies of important documents, such as the first Constitution of the State, acts of Congress, Indian treaties and maps.