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Guide to New Jersey Legislative History

Updated 10/2014

1. Starting with an NJSA citation
2. When you know the chapter number
3. When you know the bill number
4. For the period between 1905 to 1960
5. Further research possibilities
6. Location of materials in the Rutgers Law Library
7. Online Materials

 1. Starting with an NJSA citation:

Use the citations and historical notes at the end of the section in the NJSA to determine the year and chapter number of the law which added the specific language in which you are interested.

 2. When you know the chapter number:

  • For the years 1970 to date, selected Legislative History Checklists, with historical documents attached, are available online through the New Jersey State Library. To find laws by year and chapter number, or by bill number, use the Advanced Search page. 
  • For the years 1978 to date, use the Legislative History Checklist to find the bill number and references to statements and public hearings.
  • For the years 1948 to date, look at the beginning of the law in the NJ Session Law Service to get the bill number, and look at the end of the law in the same service to check for an introductory statement or a committee statement. Scanned copies of the New Jersey Session Laws are also available online through Rutgers School of Law-Camden and the New Jersey State Library.
  • For the years 1938 to 1969, check the appendix in the Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement for an introductory statement.
  • For the years 1880 to 1947, use the red volume, NJ Session Laws -- Conversion Tables, to find the bill number.
  • For the years 1857-1880, try using the indexes and tables in the Assembly Minutes, or Senate Journal to find the bill number.   The New Jersey State Library maintains a listing of scanned copies of these documents for selected years.

 3. When you know the bill number:

  • For years 1996 to date, legislative histories are available through the home page of the New Jersey State Legislature at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us  (To search by bill number, click on the link for the year of the bill in the left hand margin, then select the link for bill number).
  • For the years 1948 to date, use the Legislative Index of NJ to get dates of action on the bill.
  • For the years 1863 to 1947, use the bill number tables in the Assembly Minutes and Senate Journal to get page references, and check those pages for dates of action, and for veto messages.
  • For the years 1947-1977, check the bill number tables in the compilations of Governor's Veto Messages to find veto messages.
  • Check the card file labeled, "Public Hearings, by Bill Number," to see if we have a public hearing. This file presently goes through 1984/85. For later bills, check the Legislative Index of NJ.
  • Check the bill file for statements, fiscal notes, and Governor's messages.

 4. For the period between 1905 to 1960:

  • Check for relevant hearings and reports in Lucas, Bibliography of Official NJ Reports, 1905-1945, and its Supplement, 1945-1960.

 5. Further research possibilities include:

  • Checking topical indexes of Legislative Index of New Jersey (for year of passage and prior years) for related bills, and following step #3 for each item.
  • Checking Governor's annual messages and budget messages for recommendations regarding legislation.
  • Checking annual reports of relevant government departments or agencies for remarks or recommendations.
  • Checking newspapers published on or directly after the dates of legislative action, for accounts of debate. (Inquire at the Newark Public Library for newspapers.)
  • Checking periodicals published by relevant organizations for commentary and recommendations.

 6. Location of materials in the Rutgers Law Library:

Government Documents - 2nd Floor

DOCNJ - Compact Shelving on the 2nd floor, west side of the library, Rows 2/43-63

DOCREF - Near main staircase outside of Government Documents Office

The following components of a New Jersey Legislative History may be found in the Rutgers Law Library - Newark:

Assembly Minutes (Call # KFN1818.G46)DOCNJ: Row 2/50
Bibliography of New Jersey Official Reports, 1905-1945 (Call # Z1223.5.N55.B5)DOCREF: Row 2/139
Governor's Veto Messages (Call # JK2454.A22)DOCNJ: Row 2/46
Legislative History Checklist (Call # KFN1815.L3)DOCREF: Row2/137
Legislative Index of NJ (Call # KFN1810.N4)DOCREF: Row 2/136
NJ Assembly BillsDOCREF: microfilm cabinet 6
NJ Senate BillsDOCREF: microfilm cabinet 6
NJ Session Law Service (Call # KFN1831.N3)DOCREF: Row 2/137
NJ Session Laws -- Conversion Tables (Call # KFN 1831.N3)DOCREF: Row 2/137
Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement (Call # KFN1830 1937.A22)DOCREF: Row 2/137
Senate Journal (Call # KFN1818.S46)DOCNJ: Row 2/51

If you have questions, please stop by the Government Documents Offices in Rooms 265-269.

 7. Online Materials:

New Jersey State Library Legislative History Checklists with legislative histories (1970-present):  http://repo.njstatelib.org/.

Legislative Histories from the New Jersey State Legislature (1996-Present): http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/

New Jersey Minutes of the Assembly and Senate Journals: http://www.njstatelib.org/research_library/legal_resources/historical_laws/legislative_journals_and_minutes

New Jersey Session Laws:  http://camlaw.rutgers.edu/new-jersey-session-laws-online 

http://www.njstatelib.org/research_library/legal_resources/historical_laws/session_laws