Legislative History Collection




Legislative histories provide documentation and background on a particular piece of legislation. The Legislative History Collection provides ready access to these documents within the Law and Legislative Reference Library’s digital archive. Please look for additional sessions to be added in the future.







FAQs: Legislative History Collection


1. What is a legislative history?

A legislative history pulls together various documents considered as a proposed piece of legislation makes its way through the legislative process. The legislative history for a Maine legislative document will include the history and final disposition, the original bill, the committee file, any new drafts or amendments proposed or passed, floor proceedings and debate from the Legislative Record, and a copy of the enacted law or resolve, if any. Other components may include any reports or other documents related to the proposed legislation, as well as references from our extensive news collection.

2. How does legislative history differ from statutory history?

Legislative history follows a single piece of legislation. Statutory history tracks the changes in a statutory section over time. So a statutory history may consist of a series of legislative histories that affect a single statutory section or group of sections.

3. What is the Legislative History Collection?

The Legislative History Collection is an online library of legislative history resources compiled by the staff of the Law and Legislative Reference Library. This collection began with the 125 th Legislature (2010-2012) and will expand both forward and backward in time.

4. How do I find the legislative history for a particular law or bill or paper?

On the homepage of the Legislative History Collection, use the dropdown box to select the session you are interested in. Once you are at the homepage for that session, select from the dropdown boxes arranged by law or resolve chapter, legislative document number, or House or Senate number. If there is only a single entry in that category (e.g., Constitutional Resolution or Initiated Bill), the category will be linked to take you to that history.

5. Why isn’t everything linked?

Potential copyright issues prohibit the Law and Legislative Reference Library from republishing certain materials, especially inclusions in committee files and newspaper clippings. However, the Library can make copies available on request by individual patrons through the fair use provisions of U.S. Copyright Law.

6. What does ONTP mean?

“ONTP” is legislative shorthand for “Ought Not to Pass.” Other commonly used abbreviations in this collection include “OTP” for “Ought to Pass,” “OTP-AM” for “Ought to Pass as Amended,” and “OTP-ND” for “Ought to Pass in New Draft.”

7. How do I obtain copies of “available on request” materials?

At the end of each legislative history is a link to the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library online reference request form. Use this form to request documents to be sent to you. If you include the citation information provided after the “available on request” notice in the history, it will assist the Library in providing you with exactly what you are seeking.

8. I know there’s a report or other document related to a particular bill but it’s not on the legislative history. Why not? Where can I find it?

Relatively few legislative histories include reports or other documents. The Law Library is adding them to the legislative histories as they are discovered and processed for our digital collection. If you wish to discover whether the Law and Legislative Reference Library has a copy of such a report or document, you can search for it by title or keyword in the URSUS catalog. If you find it there, please assist us by sending us a message, so that we can add it to the legislative history.

9. Why do some recent legislative histories have incomplete Legislative Record listings?

The Legislative Record is generally the last piece of legislative history to be published. Debate may not be available in written form until several months after the session days in question. Rather than delay publication of the legislative history until the Record is complete, a notice is included stating that further updates may occur.

10. How soon will online legislative histories be available after a session?

Availability depends on the publication and processing of certain components of the histories. In general, legislative histories from a regular session will appear shortly before the *next* regular session. If you need legislative history material before it appears online, please contact the Reference Desk at the Law and Legislative Reference Library.

11. How do I track statutory history in Maine law?

Another tool is being developed that will link our legislative histories according to the sections of the Maine Revised Statutes that are affected.

12. What if I need further assistance?

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. If you would like to speak with a reference librarian, call 207-287-1600 Mondays through Fridays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern time. If you would prefer to email us, use our  “ Ask a Law Librarian” contact form.


This resource is provided by the Maine State Legislature 2/17/2015