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Michigan Legislative History: Home

This guide is designed to help you find Michigan legislative documents in the Law Library and elsewhere.

Introduction

The legislative process is a core function of our government.  Each bill that is introduced to the legislature has a history, and when records are retained, it should show the status of the bill at any given time.

The full legislative history of a law often consists of many documents, from many sources, compiled over the time it takes he bill to go through the complete legislative process.  These histories may be useful to show the reasoning behind, or legislative intent, of a particular law.

The documents and records used for Michigan legislative history include the following:

  • House and Senate Journals
  • Bills
  • Committe Hearings
  • Floor Debates
  • Executive Agency Reports
  • Misc. Sources of Information
  • Final Status
  • Laws
  • Committee Reports
  • Legislative Studies & Reports
  • Legislative Analyses
  • Constitution

This guide is designed to help you find Michigan legislative documents in the Law Library and elsewhere. The guide briefly describes the major sources and notes the location of material found within the Law Library.

Major Resource: Michigan Legislature official web site

When Legislative History Is Considered By Michigan Courts

How a judge will view legislative history may vary by jurisdiction.

In Michigan, current case law states that where the statutory language is plain and unambiguous, courts should avoid examining legislative history.  However, if a statute is ambiguous, the courts may construe the statute in accordance with the meaning legislators intended to give it.

Examining the legislative history of a law often provides important information related to the legislative intent.

State-Specific Issues

Compiling a legislative history is much more challenging at the state level than the federal level.

Some reasons include:

  • Previously compiled legislative histories are rarely available.
  • Legislative records are rarely gathered into one central location.

Plan ample time to research Michigan laws--more than for a similar federal statute.

MI Legislature Website

Limited to 1996-Present

MI Legislature Website

Legislative material including:

  • MI Constitution
  • MI Compiled Laws
  • House Journal
  • Senate Journal
  • Bills
  • Public Acts
  • Resolutions
  • Legislative Analysis
  • Committee Records
  • Fiscal Analysis

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