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Legal Writing

Bill Drafting Guidance

Legal Drafting in a Nutshell (George W. Kuney and Donna C. Looper, 2021)
Legal Drafting in a Nutshell is a compact guide that provides guidance on producing transactional documents, contracts, instruments, legislation, and regulations. It offers instruction on approaching the drafting process both from the large scale, macro overview and the small scale, micro mechanics of a document.

Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Legislation (Bryan A. Garner, 2016)
This thorough resource provides instruction on how legislation can be streamlined, simplified, and clarified by utilizing long-standing principles of legal drafting.

Legislative Drafter′s Desk Reference (Sandra L. Strokoff, and Lawrence E. Filson, 2007)
This title provides practical guidance on how to draft federal and state legislation and regulations. It contains both an introduction to the concept and process of bill drafting as well as step-by-step instructions for addressing the issues associated with crafting legislative bills or agency regulations.

Online Drafting Manuals, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
The NCSL has compiled a list of drafting manuals and guides produced by all 50 states, as well as by other jurisdictions where available.

Drafting Rules and Style Manual, Uniform Law Commission (2021)
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) provides a manual for drafting a uniform or model act. The appendices include examples of preferred usage of words and phrases, rules for formatting an act, an example of a properly formatted act, and a template that may help a writer get started. 

Capturing the Voice of The American Law Institute: A Handbook for ALI Reporters and Those Who Review Their Work, American Law Institute (2015)
This style manual from the influential American Law Institute addresses drafting legislative recommendations, as well as restatements and principles. It cover language, structure, organization, and stylistic conventions.

Introducing a Senate Bill or Resolution (2021)
This report is intended to assist Senators and staff in preparing legislation for introduction. Its contents address essential elements of the process, including bill drafting, the mechanics of introduction, and the roles played by key Senate offices involved in the drafting, submission, and referral of legislation. 

House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies (2018)
A principal responsibility of House committees is to conduct markups—to select legislation to consider, to debate it and vote on amendments to it (to mark up), and to report recommendations on passage to the House. This manual examines procedures and strategy related to committee markups and provides sample procedural scripts.

Glossary of Legislative Terms, National Conference of State Legislatures
A list of commonly used terms by state legislatures in legislative materials.

U.S. Senate Glossary
A glossary of frequently-used terms in U.S. Senate business and materials, compiled by the U.S. Senate.

Glossary of Legislative Terms, Congress.gov
Brief explanations of legislative terms used throughout Congress.gov.

Arizona-Specific Information

Arizona Legislative Bill Drafting Manual, Arizona Legislative Council (2019-2020)
The Arizona Legislative Bill Drafting Manual is the manual of form and style used to prepare bills and other legislative proposals. It is based on generally accepted drafting principles and conventions.

Arizona Glossary of Legislative Terms
A list of terms used by the Arizona Legislature. 

Abbreviations, Arizona Legislature
A list of abbreviations used by the Arizona Legislature.

Free Resources
Arizona State Legislature
This website contains the text of Arizona bills from the 39th Legislature (1989) to the present.

  • Bill Text Keyword searching can be used to locate proposed legislation. A search can also be done by bill, memorial, or resolution number.  This resource does not allow users to search more than one Legislature at a time.
  • Bill Summary and Status (Bill Tracking) Once the proposed legislation is located, click on “Bill Status Overview.” It will provide information about the progress that the legislation made.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library has copies of bills, memorials, and resolutions as they were introduced.
Senate Bills and Slip Laws
     35th Legislature (1982) - 48th Legislature (2007)
     29th Legislature (1969) – 34th Legislature (1979) 
House Bills and Slip Laws
     35th Legislature (1982) - 48th Legislature (2007) 
     30th Legislature (1971) – 32nd Legislature (1975) 

ASU Library has the following sources, which provide the introduced version of a bill, memorial or resolution.
Senate bills, memorials, and resolutions as introduced
     19th Legislature (1949) - 48th Legislature (2007)
     Hayden AZ documents LG 1.5: L18 A27S35
House bills, memorials, and resolutions as introduced
     11th Legislature (1933) - 48th Legislature (2007)
     Hayden AZ Documents LG 1.5: L18 A27H58

Senate Resource Center
The Senate Resource Center maintains bill, resolution, and memorial files from 1967. These bill files contain the introduced version of proposed legislation and all of it subsequent versions.
     1700 W. Washington Street
     1st floor, Senate Building
     Telephone: 602-542-3559

Clerk of the House
The Clerk of the House maintains a collection of bill, resolution and memorial files from 1971. Like the Senate Resource Center, these files contain the introduced version of proposed legislation and all of its subsequent versions.
     1700 W. Washington Street
     2nd Floor, House of Representatives Building
     Telephone: 602-542-4221

Subscription Resources
Lexis (Lexis password required)
     Arizona Full-text Bills – Full-text of bills currently pending in the Arizona Legislature.

Westlaw (Westlaw password required)
     Arizona Proposed Legislation (Bills) – Full text of all available bills (introduced, amended, and enacted versions) from the current session of           the Arizona Legislature.

Resources for Current Proposed Federal Legislation

Congress.gov 
Congress.gov provides a wide variety of online federal legislative information.  

  • Search Bill Text
    Coverage is from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present. 
    Information is updated daily when Congress is in session.
    Searching can be done by keyword or bill number.
  • Search Bill Summary and Status
    Coverage is from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present.
    Information is updated every 24-48 hours.
    Searching can be done by keyword, bill number, state in legislative process, sponsor, date, or committee; bills can also be browsed.

GovInfo
The GovInfo website has bill information for the 103rd Congress (1993) to the present.  Information is updated every day that Congress is in session.  Bills can be browsed by Congress or searched by keyword.  Information is available in PDF format.

U.S. House of Representatives website
The website of the United States House of Representatives provides information on current legislative activity occurring in the House including bill status reports, floor activity, floor and committee schedules, and roll call votes.  The website also links to the Congressional Record, the Daily Digest, and to the websites of House members and House committees. 

U.S. Senate website
The website of the United States Senate provides information on current legislative activity occurring in the Senate including floor activity, recent votes, active legislation, and floor and committee schedules.  The website also links to a Senate floor webcast, the Daily Digest, and to the websites of Senate members and Senate committees.

ProQuest Congressional (on campus or remote access with ASURITE)
ProQuest Congressional provides bill information from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present session of Congress.  Information is updated daily when Congress is in session and the full-text of bills and resolutions are available. 

Westlaw - Congressional Bills (Westlaw password required)
Has the text of all available congressional bills and resolutions introduced into the current session of Congress.

Lexis - Congressional Full Text of Bills, 113th Congress to Current Congress (Lexis password required)
Contains all bills and resolutions introduced in the current Congress.