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New Mexico Legislative History Quick Guide: Legislative History - Pre 1996

This LibGuide details how to find New Mexico legislative history documents using various free, subscription, and print resources located at the UNM Law Library.

New Mexico Legislative History in Print

In order to research New Mexico legislative history in print, you will need to locate the appropriate session law number for the statutory section in question. The session law number is located in the history line of the statute.



Once you have located the session law (for example, the enacting law for this statutory section is Laws 1984, ch. 127 section 331) you can access the session laws in print at the UNM Law Library or using the online database HeinOnline. HeinOnline is a subscription based service offered on-site at the UNM Law Library's public computer terminals or through the UNM Proxy server if you are a UNM student. The session laws will usually be a reprinting of the statute as it was enacted or amended with no other additional legislative material in the body of the text.

However, you can find the appropriate bill number at the bottom of the first page of the chapter (pictured below). In this example, the bill number is House Bill 229. Now that we have located the bill number and year, it is time to locate the bill itself.


New Mexico House and Senate documents are available in print at the University of New Mexico Law Library. While the bills usually contain the same text as the session laws and statutory sections, there are occasionally hand-written notes and amendments throughout the original version of the bill. This is a rare occurrence, but it is worth checking. Pictured below is an example of the House Bill volumes and the first page of the bill discussed in the previous examples.


 

Prior to 1996, the only legislative materials readily available outside of session laws and bill texts are the House and Senate Journals available in print at the UNM Law Library.

These journals contain information the legislative actions regarding the bill including a list of and details about the bill's amendments. It is rare that any substantive information about the legislative intent is located in these journals but they do sometimes appear in the notes. In order to find the relevant journal pages, locate the index in the back of the appropriate journal volume (pictured below).



In this example, we can see that House Bill 229 is listed in the 1984 House Journal index, along with abbreviations detailing the various legislative actions and the corresponding page numbers. The parenthetical numbers next to each abbreviation is the page number that corresponds to the action. Below is an example of one of these entries. As you can see, there is a list of amendments made to the bill, but no substantive information as to why these amendments were made.


As this guide demonstrates, determining legislative intent based on the material available in print is extremely difficult. Unfortunately, committee and fiscal impact reports are not readily available. For assistance in locating these types of documents drafted prior to 1996 please contact the New Mexico Legislative Council Service.


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