How Research Can Help Establish Legislative Intent
The language of laws is not always clear and unambiguous. Sometimes laws are written in a way that leaves them open to different interpretations. When attorneys, courts, administrative agencies, and researchers need help in interpreting laws, they sometimes refer to legislative intent. They can refer to the history and documentation around a piece of legislation to determine its purpose and goals. The history of federal and state legislation can provide clarity in the case of statutes that are open to different interpretations.
What is legislative intent?
Legislative intent has been used for over a hundred years to determine the purposes and goals of state legislation. When legal statues are open to different interpretations, referring to the their history and documentation about the conditions in which the legislation was passed can provide clarity about their goals and purposes. Litigators, courts, government agencies, and researchers may all need to refer to legislative history documentation, sometimes going back as far as 1700.
Legislative intent has been defined as a tool of statutory construction, which attempts to understand the intention of a piece of legislation. To reach this understanding, legislative history provides the background for the bill and the conditions under which it passed. The social, economic, and political climate of the period can also be used in determining legislative intent. Legislative intent is not used in the case of statutes that been established to be clear and unambiguous.
Legislative history research services
Legislative history services can access records going back to 1700, covering both federal and state legislation. The documents used to establish legislative intent can include the text of the original resolution, amendments
that were proposed or rejected, hearings on the topic, and speeches and debates before the vote was taken.
Legislative research can also include the relevant legislative records or journals and subcommittee minutes, findings and reports. References to other relevant statues can also help to clarify the intent and purposes of the law. Relevant case law prior to the legislation can illustrate the problems the legislation was intended to address.
Legislative internet research helps to clarify the goals and purposes of federal and state legislation laws that is open to different interpretations. It is a tool for statutory construction, under which law must be interpreted in a way that most closely meets its original intentions and purposes.