Skip to main content

Statutes: US and State Codes Research Guide: State Codes

Comparing laws on the same subject across many jurisdictions

Getting Current State Codes Online

Getting "Official" State Codes for Law Review

State Codes

Most states publish their statutes in a manner similar to the federal government. For example, most states publish their statutes initially in a slip law format, and have official publications of the session laws.  

Also like the federal governement, states may have different versions of the code. For example, the Oregon code is published in three versions:

  1. Oregon Revised Statutes (Official)

  2. Oregon Statutes Annotated (Westlaw)

  3. Oregon Annotated Statutes (Lexis)

Find in-depth information about finding Oregon legislative information in the Oregon Legal Research guide

States can be as unique as snowflakes. Thus, even if the legislative process is similar to the federal one, the language used to describe statutes and the statute language itself may vary widely.  In addition, not all states maintain current official codes.  The Bluebook provides details on state statutes in Table 1.

Note that Heinonline has digital copies of historical state statutes.  Dates vary by state, and reach back as far as 1775 for original colony states.

In addition to the state codes, there are a variety of unofficial uniform laws.  These laws are developed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCUSL), a non-governmental body formed in 1892 upon the recommendation of the American Bar Association for the purpose of promoting "uniformity in state laws on all subjects where uniformity is deemed desirable and practicable."

The Commissioners have approved more than two hundred uniform laws, of which more than 100 have been adopted by at least one state. A few have been widely adopted. A notable example is the Uniform Commercial Code.

Access the Uniform Laws Annotated (ULA) in Westlaw.

Citing to a statutory code provision

The Bluebook, Rule 12 and Table 1.3, sets out the rules for citing official and unofficial versions of state codes.

Or. Rev. Stat. §90.100 (2013)

Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §90.100 (West 2013)

10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219 | 503-768-6676 | lawlib@lclark.edu