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Free and Low Cost Legal Research  

Legal research can be effective and low cost (or free). There are options available beyond Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law. This guide helps identify several alternatives
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2015 URL: http://guides.law.ufl.edu/free_research Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Federal Statutes, Legislation and Regulations

U.S. Code

The U.S. Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States.  The official version of the Code is prepared by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel (of the U.S. House of Representatives).

U.S. Code (Official)

Another place to find the U.S. Code (unoffical version) is at FDsys (from the Government Printing Office).  FDsys stands for Federal Digital System, and it is a government website that is a clearinghouse for federal legal information, including bills, session laws, presidential documents, regulations, legislative history documents (e.g. hearings, debates and committee reports), and educational materials.

FDsys (Federal Digital System)

Federal Legislation

The federal lawmaking process is outlined at a free government website called Thomas (named after Thomas Jefferson) http://thomas.loc.gov/home/laws_made.html.  Materials that are generated throughout this process can also be found at the Thomas website, which is created and maintained by the Library of Congress.  For the wealth of materials available on Thomas, there is a contents list http://thomas.loc.gov/home/abt_thom.html.

Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the set of rules published in the Federal Register by Federal departments and agencies. The Code is divided into 50 titles (broad areas subject to Federal regulation).  The CFR can be found in more than 1 location (like the U.S. Code) - there is an official version and other unofficial versions.

FDsys (Federal Digital System) CFR (Official)

 eCFR (Electronic CFR) (Unofficial)

* For more information on federal legislation, refer to the LibGuide on Federal Law, found at:

     http://guides.law.ufl.edu/Federal_Law.

Florida Statutes, Legislation and Regulations

Florida Statutes

Florida Statutes, the enacted laws organized according to subject matter, can be found at a website called "Online Sunshine."  This is a government website that provides access to Florida's legislative materials: statutes, laws, bills, etc.

Florida Statutes

Laws of Florida

The Laws of Florida are the "session laws" - the laws in the same form as when passed (when a bill has been passed).  The Laws are found at the Florida Department of State website.

Laws of Florida

Florida Legislation

The legislative process in Florida is similar to that of the federal government: it is diagrammed here: http://archive.flsenate.gov/data/civics/idea_to_law_chart.pdf

Proposed legislation will appear on either the House of Representatives' or the Senate's website and will be accompanied by information on the sponsor of the bill, votes, amendments, and staff analyses.

         Florida House of Representatives

         Florida Senate

Florida Administrative Code (Regulations)

Florida's Regulations are the administrative rules for the state of Florida and are referred to as the Florida Administrative Code (FAC).  These regulations implement laws and are created by the various agencies (part of the executive branch of government).  The FAC is found at the Florida Department of State website.

         Florida Administrative Code

* For more information on legislation and legislative history, refer to the LibGuide on Florida Legislative History, found at: http://guides.law.ufl.edu/content.php?pid=493330

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