Legislative research reports: shortcuts to topical summaries of state laws

State legislative research offices answer legislators’ questions and provide bill analysis, generating topical reports. These reports can include summaries of state laws that otherwise would take a researcher hours to compile. In June 2006, the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research produced, Public Access to Court Proceedings and Records, a one page response to the legislature’s request “for state laws that permit or require courts to prohibit public access to court records or proceedings.” The response categorizes the state laws that require court records or court proceedings be keep confidential.

The California Senate Office of Research reports are searchable online by keyword or year. The only report issued this year, on privacy, provides a wide ranging summary, with code citations, of laws related to identity theft, confidential court records, financial privacy, telephone subscriber records and surveillance technology, to name a few areas. This is a convenient reference document for every California investigator, and reporter writing about political and social issues.

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