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Category: Legal Research Tips

State Laws That Went Into Effect on January 1st

Did you know that starting January 1, Wisconsin municipalities may legalize pedal pubs?* These are quadricycles in which peddlers may consume alcohol while traveling from bar to bar. This is one of the many new state laws identified by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL’s “Annual List of State Laws Going Into Effect on …Read the Rest

Christmas Trees and Researching Regulations

Many National Forests allow individuals with the appropriate permit to cut down a Christmas tree. I, as researcher, think, “where there is this permit required by a federal agency there’s got to be a regulation.” In fact some of these regulations are mentioned on, for example, the portion of the Forest Service website devoted to the Boise …Read the Rest

On getting online state codes (mostly) right

I recently had occasion to confirm a citation to the codified statutes of Wisconsin. Wisconsin happens to be one of the minority of states that produces both a directly state-published statutory Code and a commercially published (West, in this case) annotated code. But the quality of the online availability of the “official” code, the Wisconsin …Read the Rest

Got Regulations? – Follow-up on Comment Postings

This past May I blogged about a proposed amendment to the standard of identity for milk regulations, “Got Regulations?” In that post, I noted that only 192 of 36,202 comments had been posted on In May, I called the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) number, listed in the request for comments, to ask when all the comments …Read the Rest

Beware – Links to the United States Code

In most databases (including Bloomberg Law, LexisAdvance, or Westlaw Next) the dynamic links to the United States Code in opinions, articles, or other sources will lead to the current code. This will often differ (in ways that can be either slight or very significant) from the Code language in effect at the time it was cited by …Read the Rest

Federal Government Information

The federal government distributes the staggering amount of information it creates in various ways. The U.S. Government Printing Office disseminates free, authentic, digital versions of key documents such as the U.S. Code, Congressional Record, Federal Register, and the Code of Federal Regulations via its FDSYS portal. (It also supplies these and many additional titles in …Read the Rest