SOC 3660: Punishment and Society - Statutory Law

Research resources for students in SOC 3660: Punishment and Society

What is Statutory Law?

Statutory laws are the laws created by federal and state legislators. When a legislative body (e.g. the U.S. Congress or the Ohio Legislature) passes a bill, it becomes a statute after the executive signs it into law.

First, Google It!

Yes, a librarian is telling you to Google it....  

the text of bills and Laws at every level are increasingly available free online from the governmental bodies that create them.

So, yes, first, GOOGLE IT.   painting

If that doesn't do it, there are lots of other places to go looking, which you will find attached to this guide. 

Confusing things to watch out for:  

  • The piece you are assigned is a little piece of something much bigger
  • The piece you are researching was never made it into law
  • The popular name or the number it is assigned as it goes through legislative action changes
  • It is (or is not) the target of a media campaign, disinformation strike, Reddit meme, etc. 
  • Multi-session efforts to get the same law passed
  • The bill passes as a rider on something that has nothing to do with its topic

Finding Statutory Law at the Federal Level

The U.S. Code is a topical arrangement of all of the federal laws currently in force. 

Finding Ohio Bills and Laws

All states also publish chronological public laws and codified laws. In Ohio, the topical arrangement of laws is called the Ohio Revised Code.

Finding Bills and Laws for Other States

There are several websites below that will help you find bills and laws for specific states. This is not an exhaustive list of resources, but a starting point for your research. 

Sometimes these websites include legislative documents, hearings, committee reports, and analyses.

You can also find the annotated revised codes for specific states in LexisNexis, which will include statutory history for specific sections of the code.