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Oregon Legislative Resources: What can I find where?

This Guide is intended to help you trace the history of an Oregon law, from its introduction as a bill to codification in statute.

What can I find...

at the State Library

State Library of Oregon

Ballot Initiatives

To find intent for an initiative, which results from the power of the voters to propose and adopt statutes and amendments to the Oregon Constitution, you will need to review the voter pamphlets. The Oregon voters' pamphlet was first published by the Secretary of State in 1904. The first pamphlets were issued to disseminate the text of measures to be voted on by the people of Oregon (General Laws, 1903, p. 248). Starting in 1910, the legislature ordered that information about state level candidates running for office also be included (General Laws, 1909, chap. 3) Oregon became one of the first states to provide for the printing and distribution of such a publication.

Oregon Voters' Pamphlets Online

Information in the Voters' Pamphlets:

  • The full text of all measures voted on by the people

  • Explanatory statements and arguments for and against measures

  • Statements, biographical information and portraits of candidates running for state office

  • Statements for and against candidates running for office.

  • The State Library, as a part of its mission to make government information available to the citizens of Oregon, has digitized a historical run of Oregon voters' pamphlets. Initially the project covers pamphlets issued for Marion County.

    Special Elections (1913 to Present)

    Primary Elections (2004 to present, All Counties)

    General Elections (1904 to present, Marion County only)

    Legislative Intent

    There might also be Oregon Legislature or state agency publications that clarify intent. Post 1980 Oregon documents are indexed in the State Library catalog.

    The Statesman Journal (the newspaper of record) are housed on microfilm. The historical card file index (1900-1985) to selected Oregon newspaper articles about Oregon and Oregon documents is called the "Oregon Index".

    Voting Records of Legislators

    A member's voting record on a bill may change as it passes through the legislative process in its various amended forms. The Senate and House Journals are the official record of vote by individual members on every stage of the bill's progress. The format for the listing of members for each vote is by the smallest number of votes. Those excused or absent are also listed by name. Therefore a non-listed member has voted opposite of those that are listed by name.

    State Library of Oregon
    250 Winter Street NE
    Salem, OR 97301-2563

    Phone: 503-378-8800
    Email: library.help@state.or.us
    Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., M - F

    at the State Law Library

    State of Oregon Law Library

    The State of Oregon Law Library is the primary legal information resource for state government and offers access to the law for all Oregonians.

    HeinOnline

    HeinOnline Database is available to Oregon state employees through the State of Oregon Law Library. To access, login to GovNet (separate login required) and click on the "Libraries and Archives" tab.

    HeinOnline provides access to historic Oregon Session Laws (1841-2012) and historic Oregon State Statutes Archive (1853 - 1935)

    Voting Records of Legislators

    A member's voting record on a bill may change as it passes through the legislative process in its various amended forms.  The Senate and House Journals are the official record of vote by individual members on every stage of the bill's progress.  The format for the listing of members for each vote is by the smallest number of votes.   Those excused or absent are also listed by name. Therefore a non-listed member has voted opposite of those that are listed by name.

    at the State Archives

    Oregon State Archives

    Materials such as legislative committee hearings, tape logs, bill tracings, legislative committee working papers, legislative files, and certain records of the Governor’s office are available at the Oregon State Archives.

    Legislative Tracings

    Legislative Tracings show the committees the bill passed through; the dates and page numbers in the minutes that the bill was discussed; either a listing or summary of the exhibits submitted in the committees during discussion of the bill; and a listing of the corresponding audio tapes, which constitute the verbatim record of discussion.

    Legislative Intent

    In order to determine the original and final legislative intent of a bill it may be necessary to examine the original bill in markup form which is housed at the Oregon State Archives.  They also maintain a set (earlier on microfilm) of the paper copy of the bill in its various forms as it is amended ( engrossed) and final enrolled versions if passed.  The wording and legal language may change in the "Summary" and "A Bill for an Act" section of the bill on the first page of the Bill.  During the current Legislative Session the Legislative Counsel and various Committees may be your best contact for current wording.  The Legislative Bill Room is also where one obtains free copies of each bill and its various printings.  Additional copies of meeting agendas, calendars and guides are also available in the Bill Room.

    Oregon State Archives

    800 Summer St. NE
    Salem, Oregon 97301

    Phone: 503-373-0701, option 1
    Email: reference.archives@state.or.us
    Hours: 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., M – F

     

     

    online at OLIS

    Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS)

    Legislative Intent

    Viewing or listening to committee discussion of the bill and examination of exhibits, submitted print testimony may also lead to a clearer understanding of the legislative intent of the bill. Current video/audio of these meetings is available online.

    Citizen Initiative Review Commission

    The Citizens' Initiative Review Commission  was established, in 2011, by the Oregon Legislature to fairly evaluate all new ballot measures. The panel reviews the pros and cons of the measure and  relies upon policy experts during the public review process. For each measure reviewed, a new panel is convened.

    Initiative Review Evaluations and CIRC Recommendations

    In selecting a measure to be reviewed by a citizen panel, the commission shall consider the following criteria:

    • The fiscal impact of a measure.
    • Whether the measure amends the Oregon Constitution.
    • The availability of funds to conduct reviews.
    • Any other criteria established by the commission by rule.

    Citizen Panel Statements

    Each citizen panel shall evaluate and write statements for the measure considered by the panel.

    A division of the State Library of Oregon | 250 Winter Street NE Salem, Oregon 97301 | Monday-Friday 8am-5pm | 503-378-8800 | LibraryHelp.SLO@slo.oregon.gov