Louisiana State Legislative History


Carla Pritchett
Tulane Law Library

The State Legislative Process: How Is State Legislative History Made?

State legislative systems are similar to the Federal system. Bills are introduced in an elected legislative body and are signed by the Governor before becoming law. Most states do not publish official source documents such as committee hearings or reports before a bill becomes a law. State legislative histories are hard to compile because they usually do not have these resources. Legislative intent is difficult to determine. Sometimes newspapers and the media report legislative activity. The older the statute, the less legislative history documentation is available.

Louisiana Legislative History

What Documents Are Used To Compile A Louisiana Legislative History?

Official information generated before a bill becomes a law make a legislative history. These include edited verions of a bill, committee hearing minutes or recordings about a bill, and legislative calendar and journal entries which track bill progress through the legislative process.

Unofficial sources can also be helpful and include directories of phone numbers as well as law review and newspaper articles.

(For publication information about official and unofficial sources of state information see the guide: State Administrative & Legislative Information Sources)

Online and Media Resources

From 1997 to the present, all available legislative history documents (except committee minutes) are online at the Legislature's web site: www.legis.state.la.us . Minutes can be ordered from the House or Senate Docket, which charge a fee for their services.

The House has video of all house committee meetings available online from 1999 to the present: www.house.louisiana.gov (click on Video Archives). From 2004 to the present, meetings can be accessed by "Video On Demand." From 2003 back to 1999, videos are "Available Only by Request" and must be scheduled for viewing.

The Senate has Committee meeting videos available online from 2008 at senate.legis.state.la.us.

The legislature's archives has some hearing audiotapes back to the 1980s.

Telephone / People Resources

Because few commercial indexes exist, the telephone/people sources are often the best for legislative history information for most states. Legislative manuals handbooks and phone directories are good sources for this information. Sponsors are good resources. The bill lists the sponsors, and newspaper articles sometimes mention them. Use directories to find phone numbers and addresses for the sponsors. Sponsors are sometimes the only source of information on state legislation.

Important Louisiana phone numbers:

Public Update Legislative Service: 800.256.3793 (PULS Line)
This line is free for Louisiana callers outside of Baton Rouge. Legislative staff will answer questions.

To contact lawmakers in the House: 225.342.6945
House Fax: 225.342.8336
House Docket Room: 225.342.6458

To contact lawmakers in the Senate: 225.342.2040
Senate Fax: 225.342.0617
Senate Docket Room: 225.342.2365

The following libraries are good places to get information, to verify dates and to get bill numbers over the telephone:
State Library of Louisiana, Louisiana Section: 225.342.4914
Law Library of Louisiana 504.310.2515
(800.820.3038 outside the New Orleans area)

Document Mailing Services

Louisiana News Bureau (www.lanewsbureau.com) is one example of a commercial service which provides copies of bills and other information for a fee. A customer can subscribe to all bills on a certain subject.
They can be contacted at 504.342.1240.


These two databases have a wealth of state materials including enacted laws, statutes, codes, bills and billtracking. Use database listings provided by the services to determine which file to use for a particular state.

Internet Resources

Many states include legislation on public web sites. This information changes often. In Louisiana the World Wide Web addresses are:
Senate: senate.legis.state.la.us
House: www.legis.state.la.us

House and Senate Journals, Calendars and Resume


Slip bills are available in paper and microfiche in the library. They can also be requested from the Clerk of the House or Senate, from legislative sponsors or committees or purchased from commercial services.

Legislative Committee Meetings

The House and Senate make some committee meetings when bills are considered, available on the web site using Real Video. Some audio recordings of committee meetings are in the Louisiana state archive back to the 1980s. If hearings are available, audio tapes or written "verbatim minutes" can be purchased for a small fee.

Acts (Chronological)

The Advocate is a newspaper where Acts first appear in an insert. They are published in numerical order with no subject access.

Acts of the State of Louisiana is a chronological publication of the Acts. This is published at the end of every legislative year.

Statutes (By Subject)

West's Louisiana Session Law Service comes out about a month after the session adjourns. This is the first subject index to the Acts and is available before the Acts of the State of Louisiana is published.

Louisiana Statutes Annotated is a subject arrangement of the Acts. Bound volumes are updated by pocket parts and paper indexes. The annotations include histories of the statute which include Act numbers.

Summary: How Do I Compile A Legislative History?

From 1997 to the present, you will need the Act Number, Year, and Session of the legislation. This information is in the historical notes following the Statute (which can be looked up by subject) in West's Louisiana Statutes Annotated. With this information you can go to the legislature's web site, scroll to Bill Search, choose the session and year, Change HB to ACT (right below the session box) and click View. Minutes are in the video archives.

Before 1996, you will need the bill number, year and session. The published Act and statute annotations list bill numbers. To get the bill numbers you can also use Legislative Calendars, Resumes and Journals which will list the committee a bill has been assigned to and the hearing dates. Newspapers also sometimes give this information. Directories can be used to call individual committee members or their staff. The text of bills can be found in the paper slip bills, on microfilm, or on legislative web pages on the Internet. Legislative Histories can be ordered from the House or Senate Docket.

Louisiana Legislative History Resources

before 1996
before 1950

Loyola Law Library (bound)

Tulane Law Library
(unbound paper, 1998-present; microfilm, 1997)
Loyola Law Library
(bound back to 1970)

New Orleans Public Library
(microfilm back to 1950)

Tulane Law Library
(bound 1974-1986, microfilm 1952-1973, 1987-1997)
Law Library of Louisiana
Calendars, Resumes and Journals
Tulane Law Library

Loyola Law Library

Law Library of Louisiana
Loyola Law Library

Law Library of Louisiana
Law Library of Louisiana
(complete set - some available only in French)
Committee meetings/Hearings Online (back to 1999) Legislative archives has some hearing audiotapes back to the 1980s
Acts and commercial statutes(enacted law)
West Louisiana Statutes Annotated

Lexis Louisiana Statutes

Acts of Louisiana
West Louisiana Statutes Annotated

Acts of Louisiana
West Louisiana Statutes Annotated

Acts of Louisiana

State Administrative & Legislative Information Sources
Legislative History:
United States
United States Administrative & Legislative Sources

Louisiana State Legislative History
August 2008