Legislative history is defined in Black's Law Dictionary, 8th ed. (2004) as "the background and events, including committee reports, hearings and floor debates, leading up to an enactment of an act." Such history is important in determining the legislative intent of a particular statute.
Here are some very basic research steps:
Hawaii Revised Statutes is the state's compilation of general and permanent laws. The current edition includes: volume 1 (2009), volume 2 (1993), volume 3 (2011), volume 4 (2001), volume 5 (2007), volume 6 (2010), volume 7 (1993), volume 8 (2004), volume 9 (2005), volume 10 (1993), volume 11 (2008), volume 12 (2006), volumes 13-14 (1993), Index (1996), Special Pamphlet-Tables of Disposition (1988) and the latest annual cumulative supplement. Use the index to find the relevant law.
The bracketed source note at the end of a statute indicates the enabling/amending acts and each compilation where the statute may be found.
*1935 may omit reference to previous compilations of a statute if no amendment occurred after the original enactment/last amendment and last compilation)
Go to the Session Laws volume for the year when the act was passed. Acts are arranged in numerical order and will cite to a House Bill (HB) or Senate Bill (SB). From 1935-1953, the acts are not arranged in numerical order, check the table of contents for the page number of each act. Notice that an act may have a preamble which states purpose.
After you have determined the bill no., go to both the House and Senate journals at the back of which are tables, at times, labeled as History of Bills. Check each of the pages cited alongside the bill to find action on the bill. Among those pages will be the text of committee report(s) or references to the report no(s). The text of the report may be included in the daily proceedings (before 1951 in the House Journal and before 1955 in the Senate Journal; if not, the report will be published in an appendix. Review all relevant reports for stated intent/purpose. At a minimum, there will be one House and one Senate standing committee report. The other cited pages may include floor remarks, and references to special reports and testimony.
Judiciary Home | Library Home
Send suggestions or comments via e-mail.
© Copyright 2014 Hawai‘i State Law Library System.