Skip to Main Content

Ohio Law - Free Websites & Sources

Use free websites to find Ohio law.

Ohio Legislative History Videos

Good Starting Points for Ohio Legislative History

How to Conduct Legislative History Research

What is Legislative History?

Legislative history means the documents generated when the bill was going through the legislative process.  These documents can give insight into legislative intent.  They are persuasive as to legislative intent, but not binding on a court.

When to Make a Legislative Intent Argument

First, look to the language of the statute itself.  If the statute is ambigous, the court, in determining the intention of the legislature, may consider legislative history, the objective sought to be obtained, circumstances under which the statute was enacted and other factors as listed in Ohio Revised Code 1.49. For further discussion, see Kathleen M. Trafford, The Importance of Legislative History in Supreme Court Decisions, 27 Ohio Lawyer Sept. 2013, at 27 (via HeinOnline).  This article provides examples of cases where Ohio courts found legislative history persuasive.

How to find Ohio Legislative History:

In a nutshell, the steps are:

1.  If starting with an Ohio Revised Code section, you will need to identify the piece of legislation you are interested in.  Was it the Act creating that code section, or one of the Acts that later amended the code section? Use an annotated code to find the acts which created or modified the Ohio Revised Code Section you are interested in.  (The free version of the Ohio Revised Code on the Internet contains some history of enacting and modifyng legislation, but not all.)  Underneath the text of the code section, there is a history or credits section listing this information.  It looks like this:


RS § 7424; S&S 516; 73 v 40, § 26; GC § 2183; 103 v 65; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 125 v 887 (Eff 7-1-54); 134 v H 494 (Eff 7-12-72); 138 v H     654. Eff 4-9-82.

(The above is the history section from the 2012 Page's Ohio Revised Code for Ohio Revised Code Section 5145.15)

2.  Find legislative history documents corresponding to the Act (Session Law) you are interested in.   The easiest legislative history documents to find are the text of the act, different versions of the bill as it went through the legislative process and Legislative Service Commission Analysis.  For Acts 1997 and later, the Ohio General Assembly's webpage has legislative history documents accessible from the page for each bill.  If the Act was passed 1989 or later, a great place to start is Hannah Capitol Connection, a database accessible in the University of Akron Law Library and remotely to faculty, students and staff.


Ohio Legal Research KFO75 .H357 2009 Chapter 10

Hard to Find Documents

You can contact these places for more obscure Ohio Legislative history documents:

Another idea is to contact the committee chairperson

Other Useful Links for Ohio Legislative History

Besides the Good Starting Points, above, you may want to look at:

Find Historical Codes, Session Laws and Bills

  Lexis Advance Westlaw Edge Hannah Capital Connection Free Web

HeinOnline, Law Library Print Collection,
Microform and other sites!

Historical Versions of the Code

Page's Ohio Revised Code Annotated - Accessible from each section in the current code. Look on the right for Compare Versions button. 


Ohio Statutes Annotated - Historical back to 1994 na

Out of copyright editions of Ohio Revised Statutes (1879-1909) or General Code (1910-1952) may be on Google Books

Session Laws Library>State Statutes - NW territory 1792 to 1958- HeinOnline

Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources, 1878-1921

Baldwin's Ohio Revised Code - annotated, 1958 - Microform

Check the library catalog for various copies in print!

Statutes (session laws) Ohio Advance Legislative Service

Ohio Enacted Legislation (Session Laws) current session

Ohio Historical Enacted Legislation (Session Laws) - 1988-2020

Hannah Capitol Connection 1989-

General Assembly - Acts (2015-current)

Archives back to 1997

Laws of Ohio via Secretary of State - 2007 to present

HeinOnline -  Sessions Laws Library 1803-2006,Territory of Ohio (1788-1803)

Laws of Ohio - Print - to 2004


Bill Status (old title:
Bulletin of the General Assembly)

Ohio Bill Tracking Reports (1989-)

Ohio Bill Tracking - current 

Ohio Bill Tracking: Historical - (2005-)

Hannah Capitol Connection 1989-

Status Report - (1983-)


Open States

Bill Text - Current Session Search - Ohio Full Text Bills Ohio Proposed Legislation (Bills) Hannah Capitol Connection Search Legislation Open States
Bill Text - Historical Search - Ohio Full Text Bills - back to 1991

Ohio Historical Proposed Legislation

Hannah Capitol Connection

Search Legislation

Archives back to 1997

Bills of the Ohio General Assembly - Microform 1803-


Ohio Legislative History Chart

When starting to look for Ohio Legislative Materials, it can be difficult to know where to look. Here's a quick look at where to find some specific materials!

  Lexis + Westlaw Edge Hannah  Free Web MORE
Numerous available all at once Ohio Legislative Bills History 2005-

Ohio Enacted Legislation
Current session. When in an Act, click on the Legislative History link at the top.

Ohio Legislative Bill History:
Bill Analysis & Other Reports, Governor Messages, and Journals

Hannah - click on Search on the left side

General Assembly - Acts (2017-2019)

Archives back to 1997

LSC Analysis Ohio Legislative Bills History 2005- Ohio Legislative Bill History: 1997- Hannah Capitol Connection 1989-

Ohio Gen. Assem. Find Analysis - Archives 1997-2014

Ohio Gen. Assem. - 2015- current

Legislative Service Commission Analysis of Bills Microform 1961-
Digest of Enactments    


Digest of Enactments (1997-)

Status Reports, 1983/84-

Digest of Enactments/ Summary of Enactments (1995-2005) print

Summary of Enactments - Print -KFO421.5.E5L4 1969-1994

Fiscal Analysis Ohio Legislative Bill History (2005- ) Ohio Legislative Bill History: 1997- Hannah 1989- Ohio Gen Assemb.- pull up a bill/act and click on Documents  
Debates and Hearings    

Hannah 1989-
Hearing summaries

The Ohio Channel  Floor debate video back to 1997.

Ohio Gen Assemb.- pull up a bill/act and click on Committee Activity for fulltext of hearings 2015 - 

Some testimony is filmed for inclusion with the LSC analysis in microform - rare
Hannah News (helpful but not really LH)     Hannah 1989-    
House & Senate Journals (contains voting records)  

House Journals (2003-)

Senate Journals (2005-)


House Journals (2015-2022)

Senate Journals (2015-2022)

House Journals (1975-2006)

Senate Journals (1959-1972) and (1975-2006)

LLMC Digital

Hathi Trust - various years, 1803 - 1949

Digitized in America's Historical Imprints (Subscription Database)

Governor's Signing Statements Ohio Legislative Bills History 2005- Ohio Legislative History Messages (2000-2010) Governor's speeches about legislation Hannah 1989-
Attached to the relevant bill 
Ohio Governor's News Releases  


Legislative History Research in Other States