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Mastering Federal Statutory Research

Mastering Statutory Research is a guide designed to demystify the world of statutes, providing readers with essential tools and knowledge needed to conduct effective legal research.

Publication Cycle

You need to know the publication cycle of a statue when conducting statutory research:

Slip Laws.  The first version of a newly enacted Public Law or Private Law is often referred as a is a slip law. Slip laws are separately issued pamphlets containing the text of one legislative act.  

Session Laws. Enacted Public and Private Laws are  arranged chronologically by their date of passage.  Session laws located in permanent hard bound volumes. They are published in chronological order during a legislative session.

Revised Code. A collection of all currently valid statutes that can be located via a fixed subject or numerical arrangement.  They are further subdivided into chapters and then sections. 

Annotated Code. A subject arrangement of  all currently valid statutes with extensive editorial enhancements such as ‘historical notes,’ ‘cross references,’ ‘library references,’ and ‘notes of decisions.’ An annotated code is often the first some for