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Researching Federal Statutes

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 statute  is a slip law. Slip laws are separately issued pamphlets containing the text of one legislative act.  

Session Laws. Enacted statutes arranged chronologically by their date of passage.  Session laws are a permanent publication (bound form) in chronological order of the slip laws enacted during a legislative session.

Revised Code. A collection of all currently valid statutes in a fixed subject or topical arrangement.  Each subject is usually referred to as a title.  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.’