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Keeping Current on Ever Changing Legislation

Keeping up to date on constantly changing and evolving state legislation can be tricky! Fortunately, there are a variety of resources and tools at lexis.com® to make the process less complicated.

Statutory Research

The starting point for updating most legislation is to pull up the statutory section. Whether you retrieve a section via Get a Document by the citation, by clicking a link from the table of contents in a source, or by running a search in a current state code, the section will have a banner at the top indicating how current the text of the code is, usually including the date and number of the most recent slip law to have been incorporated into the code. The individual section you have pulled up may or may not have been affected by that legislation, since the date applies to the entire code, not the individual sections. You can tell if your particular section has been recently amended by checking the History segment.

In addition to the "Current Through" banner at the top of the section, you may also see a link to recently enacted legislation that has not yet been incorporated into the text of the section. Each state has a file that contains the Advance Legislative Service (ALS) documents for that state. The ALS is simply a file for laws in the form of bills that have been passed, before they are codified. Depending on the state, they may be referred to as public laws, slip laws, session laws, chapter laws, acts or legislation. Due to the more complicated process of updating codified laws, the ALS will usually be updated with newly passed legislation before the language has been incorporated into the state code source.

Full-Text Bills

In some cases, you may need to find out if the state legislature is contemplating an amendment to the state statutes. Each state has its own file for full-text bills. Since some state legislatures (such as California) operate on a two-year legislative session, the file may cover one or two years. (These states are known as "carryover" states because bills introduced in the first year's session "carry over" and are still active in the second year.) If you find a bill that addresses your code section or the topic you are interested in, you can click on the link to the Bill Tracking Report, and it will indicate the status of the bill. In addition to the Shepard's Alert® described below, you can save a search as an Alert in the full-text bills or the bill tracking file to be notified when changes are made or the search retrieves new documents, including new versions of the bill.

Shepard's Alert®

If you want to track the status of a particular statute, you can set up a Shepard's Alert to receive an alert e-mail when:

  • Pending legislation is added to the Shepard's® report for your statute
  • Pending legislation affecting your statute is finally enacted and signed into law
  • The recently enacted law is codified into the statutes

For example, a recent search in CA Full-Text Bills revealed that the California legislature is considering amendments to the Corporations Code, section 25102. If you are interested in keeping abreast of future developments, you can track the legislation that could potentially affect this statute with the Shepard's Alert feature by taking the following steps: 

  • Click the drop-down arrow on the Shepard's tab at the top of any LexisNexis® page at lexis.com® and select Set up a Shepard's Alert.
  • Enter the citation Cal Corp Code sec. 25102 in the Create a New Shepard's Alert form and click the Set Up button to set up a new Shepard's Alert.
  • Select the radio button under the Comprehensive Report option, and click Continue.
  • Choose the options you prefer on the next screen, and click Continue.
  • The last screen shows all the options you have selected. If these are correct, simply click Save.

For more information on creating Shepard's alerts, from lexis.com, click the Help link, then in the search box, type "Shepard's Alert." Or, simply click on the Help link while you are on the Shepard's Alert set-up page. For an in person training or demonstration, kindly contact your LexisNexis Representative today!