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Statutory Research- Federal & State: What are statutes?

Statutes Defined

Statutes are laws passed by a legislative body and usually arranged by subject. Read the definition of a statute as provided by Black's Law Dictionary.

Global Lex has prepared a A Guide to U.S. Federal Legal System that provides excellent information about research statutes.

Researching Statutes PowerPoint

Statutes in Print

The Law Library currently maintains in print copy of the United States Code, the Oklahoma and Texas statutes, and the Oklahoma Statutes Annotated.

Statute Research Guides

Research guides are always a great starting point when researching any area of law. Two useful research guides on the topic of Federal Statutes:

Research Guide from Harvard University

Research Guide from NYU.

Two useful research guides on the topic of the  Oklahoma Statutes:

Research Guide from the Library of Congress

Research Guide from Georgetown University.

A useful research guide for the Texas Codes:

Research Guide from the Library of Congress.


Legislative History

Legislative history is the material resulting from the process of a bill becoming a law in Congress. Some materials found when researching legislative history include text of the bill, amendments, reports, and debates. Read more about Legislative History from the Legislative History LibGuide linked below. 

Codification Process

Codified Statutes and Session Laws

Session Laws are the publication of Congressional bills (and resolutions) and state legislation as they are passed by Congress or a state legislature. Codified statutes are the bills as they have been codified and are arranged by topic.

Annotated Statutes

Official Statutes v. Statutes Annotated

Most jurisdictions publish an official statute series or set. These official versions contain very few extra research tools other than an index and select tables. Annotated statutes are commercial publications of the statutes with references to other sources of law, most often case law which defines, broadens, or narrows the scope of that statute. Annotations also provide references to law review articles, ALRs, treatises, and other research references.

Online Quick Reference

Are Statutes Available Online?

Both Federal and State Statutes are available from online resources.

1. LLMC Digital: Click here for online access to this title (requires Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader)

2. HeinOnline: U.S. Congressional Documents Library

                             Session Laws Library

                             Treaties and Agreements Library

                             Statutes at Large Library

                                       United States Code Library


4. Westlaw Law School

5. LexisNexis Law School

6. ProQuest Congressional