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Documenting Florida Legislative Intent

Gathering legislative history materials for Federal laws is relatively easy, but the process is more difficult for Florida laws. For example, many committee records are only available on audiotapes stored in Tallahassee - without transcripts. The following resources may help get you started.

Understanding the Legislative Process

How a Bill Becomes Law (Florida House of Representatives)
How an Idea Becomes a Law (Florida Senate Information Center)

Identify the Law and Bill Numbers

Florida Statutes Annotated (West)
Reference KFF 30 1970 .A2

  • Following the text in the statutes is a history note identifying the law(s) which created or amended that section.
  • Use the year, chapter, and section number to locate the enacted bill in the Laws of Florida volumes.
  • If there is more than one law cited in the history, the researcher will probably need to look at each one.

NOTE: The annotations following the text in the statutes may be useful for locating cases or law review articles about the specific statute. Although those materials are not part of the legislative history, they might help the researcher understand issues regarding the statute. The researcher conducting a comprehensive search should consult both the West and LexisNexis versions of the statutes since the annotations may differ.
Laws of Florida
Online version (1997+)
Florida Documents SS 5:L3/ (1891+)
  • Use the history citation from Florida Statutes to locate the law, e.g.,
    ss. 1, 5, ch. 95-296 would be in the volumes for 1995, chapter 296, sections 1 and 5.
  • The Senate or House bill number is identified at the beginning of the text and will be used for continuing the research in the bill citators.

Bill Citators

Use the Senate or House bill number identified from Laws of Florida to locate:

  • Status of the bill
  • Bill sponsor
  • Linked, identical, similar, or compared bills
  • Brief description of the bill
  • Chronological history
  • Citations to pages in the House and Senate Journals
  • Dates of action for committees through which the bill passed
  • Staff analyses and committee reports
Bill Information "Citator" (Florida Senate)
  • Statistics
  • History of Senate Bills
  • History of House Bills
  • Introducer/Sponsor Report
  • Subject Index
  • Statute/Constitution Citations
  • Vetoed Bills
NOTE: The Online Sunshine entries for specific bills provide direct links for various versions of the bills, committee amendments, floor amendments, bill analyses, and vote history.
Final Legislative Bill Information
Florida Documents LEG.D3: H49/ (1988-2001)
History of Legislation
Florida Documents LEG.D2: H49/ (1972, 1975-1987)

For earlier dates (1969+) and other information, see the State Archives.

Staff Analyses and Committee Reports

Bills Listed by Year and Chamber (Florida Senate)
  • Select the year and chamber (Senate or House) at the top of the page
  • Select the bill number to display:
    • Chronological History
    • Bill Text
    • Amendments
    • Bill Analyses
    • Vote History
    • Citations
Florida Documents Index
Online version (1967+)
Florida Documents Reference shelves (Keyword in Context Index, 1969-1993)
Search the Florida Documents Index to identify staff analyses and committee reports which may be available in the UCF Florida Documents Collection, primarily at
  • LEG.B2 (House)
  • LEG.C2 (Senate)
Florida Legislative Staff Analyses (1988-1996)
Not Available at UCF
Available in Orlando on microfiche at the law school libraries of Barry University and FAMU.

For earlier dates (1969+) and other information, see the State Archives.

House and Senate Journals

The House and Senate Journals provide information about votes and referrals to/from committees, but do not generally include other details about the process, such as debates.

Journal of the House of Representatives
Online version (1998+)
Online version (1843-1997)
Florida Documents LEG.B.9: (1887+)
Microfilm F 311 .U5 (reels A.1a, A.1b, & A.1c (1822-1869)
Journal of the Senate
Online version (1998+)
Florida Documents LEG.C.9: (1881+)
Microfilm F 311 .U5 (reels A.1a, A.1b, & A.1c (1822-1869)

Fee-Based Research Service

provides useful information about the research process and some of the possible problems a researcher might encounter.

"The Archives charges a fee for conducting legislative research for mail and phone researchers. Patrons requiring faster service may visit the Archives in person to examine relevant records, or may hire a private research firm. The Archives maintains a list of private researchers."

"Legislative records for the current and immediately preceding legislative sessions are not maintained at the State Archives. Records are kept by the individual committees for one or more years, and are then sent to the Legislative Library, (850) 488-2812, for processing. The records are subsequently sent to the State Archives, where they are permanently preserved. Some committees, however, may retain their records for as long as three or four years Researchers may still access this material directly from the committee or the Legislative Library."
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature

Other Research Guides

Florida State University Law Review
General Collection K 6 .L675
  • 13 Fla.St.U.L. Rev. 485 - "The Search for Intent: Aids to Statutory Construction in Florida - An Update" by Robert M. Rhodes and Susan Seereiter, Florida State University Law Review, vol. 13, pages 485-514, 1985.
  • 6 Fla. St. U.L. Rev. 383 - "The Search for Intent: Aids to Statutory Construction in Florida" by Robert M. Rhodes, John W. White and Robert S. Goldman, Florida State University Law Review, vol. 6, pages 383-407, 1978.
Florida Legislative Histories: A Practical Guide to Their Preparation and Use
by Carol Roehrenbeck, D&S Publishers, 1986
is out-of-print and is not available at UCF.
Guide to Florida Legislative History (University of Florida College of Law)
Florida Legislative History Guide (University of Miami Law Library)
Florida Legislation and Legislative History (Florida State University College of Law Library)
a PowerPoint presentation
Guide to Florida Legislative Publications and Information Resources
Reference KFF 20 .F63 1990
provides useful information about the types of materials available.

Looking for something else? Ask for assistance at the UCF Libraries' Research Assistance Desk or contact Ask A Librarian.

Prepared by: Rich Gause, Government Documents Librarian
URL of this page: http://library.ucf.edu/GovDocs/legal/flaleghist.asp

Last updated October 13, 2011 9:30:36 AM

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