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New York Resources

This State Guide lists the major sources of law in New York.

Legislative History

"Legislative history" refers to the documents created by the legislature in the course of the legislative process. Legislative histories are usually consulted to investigate the legislative intent behind a statute. The following publications contribute to the understanding of how New York courts use legislative history:

Relatively little explanatory material is available for New York legislation.

  • The table in this guide serves only as a starting point to conduct a New York legislative history research. It lists the more common legislative documents that may help you understand the intent of a law and potential locations to find them. But it is not an exhaustive list.
  • The legislative history research guides offered by N.Y. state and academic law libraries (found further along on this page) offer more exhaustive lists of legislative documents and their locations, and more detailed research steps.
Document Locations
Bills See Finding Bills section on Bills & Session Laws page on this guide.
Introducer's memoranda (also known as "sponsor's memoranda," or "legislative memoranda")

New York State Legislative Annual (in print, State 1st Floor KFN5014 .N48). The most comprehensive source. Compiles sponsor's memoranda for all chapter (session) laws of the given year, with all governor's approval and veto messages.

McKinney's Session Laws of New York (in print) at Library of Congress. (See Library of Congress' policies prior to visiting.) Selected memoranda are available in Volume 2 of the annual set from 1977 onwards.

Legislative Session Information (New York State Legislature)

Governor's Memoranda (which include "approval memoranda" and "veto memoranda")

New York State Legislative Annual 

McKinney's Session Laws of New York (in print) at Library of Congress. (See Library of Congress' policies prior to visiting.). Governor's Memoranda on Approval of Bills are available in Volume 2 of the annual set from 1977 onwards.

New York Consolidated Laws Service (in print, State 1st Floor KFN5030 1976 .A23, currently updated in Law Library).

Bill Jackets: For explanation of this document, see

N.Y. St. Libr.'s guide on Bill, Veto and Recall Jackets

N.Y. St. Archives' About Bill and Veto Jackets

N.Y. Pub. Libr.'s "NY Bill Jackets - Legislation Uncloaked"

Approval Jackets:

Veto Jackets:

Recall Jackets:

Transcripts of Debates and Hearings

Senate Debates: Referenced by the bill number, subject, and the day the bill was debated

  • Current session: New York State Senate Journal Office: (518) 455-2245; Room 323M, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12247
  • 1960 - prior year: New York State Office of Microfilm and Records: (518) 455-3200; Room 500GA, State Capital, Albany, NY 12247
  • 1974-1976: New York State Archives

Assembly Debates: Referenced by bill number, subject, and the day the bill was debated

  • 1974 - 1979: New York State Archives
  • 1974 - : New York State Assembly Office of Public Information: (518) 455-4218, Room 202, Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248

See also Debates & Journals page on Brooklyn L. Libr.'s NY Legislative History guide.

Senate and Assembly Hearings

See also Hearings & Reports page on Brooklyn L. Libr.'s NY Legislative History guide.

Governor's Annual Messages

McKinney's Session Law News of New York (in print at Library of Congress). Consult Libr. of Congress' policies prior to visiting.

McKinney's Session Laws of New York (in print at Library of Congress). Consult Libr. of Congress' policies prior to visiting.

New York Consolidated Law Service Session Laws (in print, State 1st Floor KFN5030 1976 .A23, currently updated in Law Library)

Governor's website

New York Enacted Legislation (Session Laws) on Westlaw (current legislative session)

New York Historical Enacted Legislation (Session Laws) on Westlaw

Finding Other Legislative-Related Materials

Names of the Standing Committees and Names of the Members

Judiciary's Legislative Program

Research Guides & Readings

A number of New York law libraries have published research guides that provide background information on the New York legislative process, list documents that may be produced in the course of the legislative process, specify the sources for legislative documents, and give recommendations in compiling a legislative history. There are also published articles that provide similar information.

Databases

Legislative History Research Service