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PLS 314: Statutes

Statutes

Statutes:  The books that contain statutes on both the federal and state levels also contain the court rules and constitution. 

                Federal

            What books contain federal statutes, and how is each organized:

            1.  United States Statutes at Large:  printed by the government and contains the federal statute in the order they were enacted into law. 

            2.  United States Code:  also printed by the federal government, contains the identical text of the federal statutes from the United State Statutes at Large, but reorganizes them by subject matter (codifies) into titles. 

            3.  United State Code Annotated:  printed by West, contains the identical text of the statues from the United State Code as well as the subject matter organization into titles.  The USCA, however, includes annotations, or citation to other sources in the library to aid in understanding the statute and how it has been applied.  You will likely find that you use the USCA or USCS in preference to USC or USSAL because of the annotations. 

4.  United State Code Service:  printed by Lexis, contains the identical text of the statutes from the United State Code as well as the subject matter organization into titles.  The USCA, however, includes annotation, or citation to other sources in the library to aid in understanding the statute and how it has been applied.  You will likely find that you use the USCA or USCS in preference to USC or USSAL because of the annotations.

            What approaches can you take to use the USCA & USCS?

            1.  Table of contents:  Browse the titles to determine which general subject covers your research.  Once you’ve chosen the title, locate that title on the shelf, and then browse the chapters within that title.  Then go to the beginning of the chapter you’ve chosen and browse the sections until you locate the statute that answers your question. 

2.  Index approach:  Choose the word or phrase that specifically describes your topic and locate that word or phrase in the index.  The index will provide you the title and section number for the relevant statute.             

3.  Popular name table:  Many acts (made up of a group of statutes devoted to a particular purpose or subject) have names (Ex:  The Taft-Hartley Act).  This table lists those popular names in alphabetical order, and gives you the title and section numbers where you can find the act. 

            How are the USCA & USCS updated?

            1.  Pocket parts:  This is the standard method by which legal resources are updated.  A subscription to USCA and USCS include annual pocket parts.  The pocket parts consist of any changes to the statutes and the addition of any annotations within the last year.  Each book has its own pocket part reflecting the updates for that particular book.  Each pocket part is cumulative, meaning it includes the changes for the past year, plus all previous years’ changes.  Once the pocket part is 2/3 the size of the book, the book is reprinted and the process starts all over again. 

            2. Softbound supplements:  These include any changes to the statutes and the addition of any annotations in between the pocket parts.  The softbound supplements, however, are not cumulative.  A researcher must check each softbound supplement, as each covers a different timeframe.  They are usually located at the end of the statute shelf. 

            State

            What books contain Kentucky statutes, how is each organized?

            1. Kentucky Revised Statutes, Baldwins (West) version        

2.  Kentucky Revised Statutes, Michie (Lexis) version.  Both are organized by title, chapter and section.  Both include annotations.   

What approaches can you take to use these books?

            1.  Table of Contents – see this same discussion regarding federal statutory law. 

            2.  Index – both versions offer an index that will supply you the chapter and section number of a statute related to the index entry.    

3.  Popular name table – on the Baldwin’s version offers a popular name table, found in the last volume of the index.

            How are these books updated?

            1.  Pocket parts

            2.  Softbound supplements