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Oregon Legislative History Research

Oregon Legislative History Research Process

  1. Look up the statute section in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).  At the end of the section, in brackets, one can find the citations to the session laws (Oregon Laws) that make up that section.  
  2. Look up the Oregon Laws.  At the beginning of the chapter, the bill number (HB or S) is provided.
  3. Use the bill number to find the Measure History.  Within the Measure History, note the committees and their work session dates.  Also note the dates the bill was discussed on the floor of the House and Senate.
  4. Look up the committee and work session date to find an audio log or recording.
  5. Look up the dates of the floor debates in the House and Senate Journals.  If necessary, listen to the recording.

How to use this Guide

Legislative history refers to the documents and materials that are produced through the legislative process. There are a variety of reasons for looking at legislative history. It can help determine legislative intent when a statute is ambiguous. It can help explain why specific language was used or removed. It may help a researcher understand the origins of a statute.

Depending on when a statute was enacted or amended, you may be looking at:

  • online resources at either the Oregon State Legislature or Oregon State Archives’ websites
  • print resources
  • microfilm
  • combination of all of these

This guide covers resources currently available at the Oregon State Legislative website and the Oregon State Archives’ website. The researcher should contact a reference librarian at an academic or government law library for additional research assistance.

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