This guide explains:
Statutes are laws enacted by a legislative body. They are binding on persons located within the jurisdictional authority of the legislative body. Statutes are what most people call “laws.” While statutes are presumed to be clear as to their meaning, it is usually necessary to consult court decisions to determine how a particular statute is applied within the jurisdiction.
Statutes are published in three different forms: slip laws, session laws and codes. Each form provides advantages for different research needs.
Slip laws are individual copies of laws published as soon as they are enacted.
Session laws are chronological compilations of the laws passed by a particular legislature within each session.
Codes are topical arrangements of all the permanent general laws in force in a particular jurisdiction at a particular point in time. Most statutory legal research is conducted using codes, since they provide the most complete picture of what the law is at a particular time by bringing related provisions together and incorporating amendments into the text.