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California Legislative History: Lexis and Westlaw

This guide provides an overview of California legislative history materials available at Rains Library, as well as a how-to guide to perform your own legislative history.

Using Lexis and Westlaw to Retrieve California Legislative History Materials

Both Lexis and Westlaw provide legislative history materials for recent bills.

On Lexis:

  • Click the citation for the enactment or amendment you would like to research to view the final version of the bill.
  • In the final version of the bill, under the About This Document sidebar on the right, click Bill Tracking to view the history for the bill.
  • In the history, under the About This Document sidebar on the right, click All versions of this bill to view prior drafts of the bill or Legislative Histories to view bill analyses and governor's signing and veto statements. 

On Westlaw:

  • To retrieve all available legislative history materials for a statute, access the History > Bill Text subtab for bill drafts and the History > Legislative History Materials subtab for bill analyses and journal entries.
  • To retrieve legislative history materials for a specific enactment or amendment, click the citation for the enactment or amendment you would like to research. Then, click the Bill Text tab for bill drafts and the History > Legislative History Materials tab for bill analyses and journal entries.

Although this can be a fast way to retrieve history materials for recent bills, you will be charged standard Lexis and Westlaw document fees for each document you access. Because almost all of these materials are readily available for free on the California legislature's website, it usually makes more sense to retrieve them there instead.

The two exceptions are:

  • The Journals which can be found free elswhere but are tedious and time consuming to compile and are more easily retrieved from Westlaw.
  • Legislative history materials for bills from 1991 and 1992, which are not available on the California legislature's website but are available on Lexis.