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Delaware Legislative History

Compiling a Legislative History

These are the basic steps for compiling a Delaware legislative history, whether you are using online or paper sources.

  1. Find the History of a Code Section

    To research the history of a particular section of the Delaware Code, look at the end of the section as it is published in the Delaware Code. In parentheses you will find the history of the code section.

    For instance 8 Del. Code §101 has this history: (8 Del. C. 1953, § 101; 56 Del. Laws, c. 50; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 587, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 339, § 1.) This means it was in the Code of 1953, and has been revised 4 times, by acts that were published in volumes 56, 70 (chapters 186 and 587) and 71 of the Laws of Delaware.

  2. Find the bill number and date of an act

    To research the legislative history of a particular act you will need to find the bill number. Look the act up in Laws of Delaware and the bill number will be given in the heading before the act. The date the act was approved can be found at the end of the act.

    Using the example above 71 Del. Laws, c. 339, § 1 was formerly Senate Bill no. 311 and was approved June 29, 1998.

  3. Find the bill and any amendments

    Using the date and bill number, locate the bill in the Bills and Resolutions for that session. Any amendments or proposed amendments will be filed directly after the bill. Check the General Assembly's website for bills after 1998. Look under "Find a Bill" and search by bill number.

  4. Locate the synopsis notes

    The synopsis note, which is at the end of the bill, is the main source of legislative intent available. The note may be one or two sentences or can be several paragraphs long. Also, be sure to look at the synopsis notes for any amendments to the bill, passed or not passed.