The Official Publication of SWALL: 
The Southwestern Association of Law Libraries
A Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries




President's Letter
from Beth Youngdale


SWALL Members at the Twin Cities: A Round up of the 2001 AALL Annual Meeting 
by Robert Hu


Minutes of SWALL Business Meeting: Minnesota
by Susan Spillman


Rice University's Seminar on Collection Preservation in Light of Hurricane Allison
by Mark Lambert


My AALL Experience: 2001
by Caren Luckie

Reflections Upon Retiring From The Colorado Supreme Court Library
by Lois Calvert

Changes in Law Libraries from 1996 to 2001:
Survey Data for Southwest Librarians

by Sue Altmeyer


Bills from 63rd Colorado Legislative Session of Interest to Law Librarians 
by Molly Otto

Compiling Legislative History in Texas
by Matthew Mantel

Arkansas Legislative History Research Guide 
by Kathryn C. Fitzhugh


News From the CoALL Annual Holiday Party 
by Karen Selden 


News from the Arkansas Supreme Court Library

News From the University of Arkansas

News from the University of Texas Tarlton Law Library

News From The Colorado Supreme Court

News from the National Indian Law Library in Boulder, Colorado

News from the Texas State Law Library

News from Vinson & Elkins in Houston
by Karl Gruben

News from the AALL Government Relations Committee:
Call For Nominations For The 2002 Public Access To Government Information Award

Fall 2001, Vol. 32 No. 2


by Kathryn C. Fitzhugh
Reference/Special Collections Librarian
UALR Wm. H. Bowen School of Law
UALR/Pulaski County Law Library

I. Introduction

Since 1955 Arkansas has not printed committee reports, committee prints, floor debate, or the minutes of senate and house proceedings. Therefore, to compile legislative history in Arkansas you must become acquainted with the other reference resources and web sites devoted to the Arkansas legislation. This article will give you the introduction to the sources you will need. The first sections include sources that explain the working of the Arkansas General Assembly and how a bill becomes a state law. The later sections of this article discusses how to find the sources of legislative history.

The Arkansas General Assembly has 135-member legislative body, 35 members in the Senate and 100 members in the House of Representatives. The General Assembly convenes on the second Monday in January of odd-numbered years. An Arkansas legislative session lasts for 60 days unless the legislature votes to extend the session. Additionally, the governor has the power to call a special session.

II. General Assembly Web Sites

Arkansas General Assembly: 

Includes links to: 

  • bill tracking 
  • bills and resolutions, 1997-date 
  • session laws (acts), 1997-date
  • Arkansas Code (unannotated)
  • information about legislators, committees 
  • list of staff members
  • meetings and events calendar
  • committee hearing videos from the Senate Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee 
  • session summaries 
  • Links to the Arkansas Senate Website:
  • Links to the Arkansas House of Representatives Website:

II. Arkansas Legislative Digest

The Arkansas Legislative Digest. ( Little Rock: AR: Arkansas Legislative Digest, Inc.) 1939-date. 

  • Commercial looseleaf service that publishes daily updates during legislative sessions;
  • Serves as an index to bills by author, bill number, subject, and by act number if the bill passes, for both general and appropriations bills;
  • Provides summaries of bills and resolutions. Provides rosters for both houses and their committees; 
  • Lists legislators by district and by county. 
  • Contains committee calendars 
  • Provides a summary record of actions taken by the houses 
  • Offers the Interim Digest, a weekly report on the activities of the interim legislative committees and executive actions taken when the legislature is not in session. 
  • Publishes an online version, Digest Web
    • Holdings: UALR/Pulaski County Law Library, Little Rock, 1967-date 
    • Arkansas Supreme Court Library, 1955-date 
    • University of Arkansas Young Law Library, Fayetteville, late 1940's, 1963-date

III. Reference Resources

  • Arkansas General Assembly. Little Rock, AR: Public Information Office, Arkansas House of Representatives. A directory published in odd-numbered years. 
  • Arkansas House of Representatives, A Bill Becomes a Law, <> (last visited Dec. 15, 2001). The Arkansas House of Representatives publishes this on their website.
  • Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research. Bill Drafting Manual, also available at (Little Rock, AR: Bureau of Legislative Research, 2000)
  • Legislative Directory (Little Rock: Arkansas Legislative Digest).  Published every other year since 1993. 
  • Legislative Directory. Little Rock, AR: Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., 1977-date. This is published in odd-numbered years.
  • William H. Manz, Guide to State Legislative and Administrative Materials (2000 ed. Littleton, CO: Fred B. Rothman Publications). Pages 35-42 cover Arkansas. 
  • Morell Eugene Mullins,A Handbook for Legislative Drafters: Arkansas Edition (Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Legislative Digest, Inc., 1986).
  • There Oughta Be a Law!: A Manual for New Arkansas Legislators (Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Legislative Council and Bureau of Legislative Research) This title was published every two years from 1982 through 1992.  It was written to acquaint newly elected legislators with the basic rules, procedures, forms of motions, organizational structure, and traditions of the Arkansas General Assembly. It is not indexed.

IV. Rules of Procedure

  • Parliamentary Manual of the Senate. (Little Rock, AR: Committee on Rules, Senate, General Assembly).
  • Rules of the House of Representatives of the State of Arkansas. (Little Rock, AR: Committee on Rules, House of Representatives, General Assembly).

V. Bills and Resolutions

Current Arkansas bills and resolutions may be acquired through the following sources:

  • Arkansas General Assembly's web site at:
  • Bills, amended bills, resolutions, calendars, and committee hearing schedules are available from the Public Bill Room at the State Capitol during sessions at a cost. 
  • The Arkansas Legislative Digest offers bills and resolutions indexed by sponsor, bill number, and subject.  It is possible to order bills and resolutions at the following charges: Mailed or faxed locally: $.40 per page. Picked up: $.25 per page. Faxed long distance: $1.00 per page. Subscriptions are available. Contact info: 411 S. Victory, Suite 203, Little Rock, AR 72202; Tel.: 800-382-0859, 501-376-2843. 
  • Digest Web, the Arkansas Legislative Digest's online version. The cost is $1,500 per year from November 1 through June 30 during sessions and $360 per year when the legislature is not in session.
  • Lobbyist-in-a-Box. Little Rock: Information Network of Arkansas. An online bill tracking system that contains the full text of current bills and session laws; it is available by subscription only during legislative sessions for $200 per legislative session.
  • Lexis: ARK, ARTEXT
  • Westlaw: AR-BILLS

Bill Tracking information is available at the following sources: 

  • Arkansas General Assembly's web site at 
  • House of Representatives: 501-682-7771
  • Senate: 501-682-6107
  • Digest Web,, the online version of the Arkansas Legislative Digest.
  • Lobbyist-in-a-Box. See above description about this item.
  • Lexis. Library: ARK, File: ARTEXT 
  • Westlaw. Database ID: AR-BILLTRK 
  • The Arkansas Legislative Digest, mailed daily during sessions, includes a summary of each bill, reports on all action taken, committee schedules, roll call votes.

Retrospective Arkansas bills and resolutions may be acquired through the following sources:

  • Arkansas General Assembly's web site at:, which contains bills dating from 1991 to present.
  • Arkansas General Assembly. House Bills, Senate Bills and Resolutions. Little Rock: Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research. Microfilm. 57th Session, 1949-date. 
    • Holdings in central Arkansas include: 
      • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library, 
      • Little Rock Arkansas Supreme Court Library 

VI. Session Laws

Session laws with no specified effective date or emergency clause become effective 90 days after the legislative session ends. The day of adjournment is not counted, so acts become effective on the 91st day unless they have a specified effective date or an emergency clause.

Online sources include: 

  • Arkansas General Assembly's web site at contains: 1991-date
  • Lexis: 1989-date
  • Westlaw: 1989-date
  • 1993-date
  • Digest Web:, the online version of Arkansas Legislative Digest
  • Lobbyist-in-a-Box.  See section V above for a description of this item.

Print Sources include: 

  • Slip laws are available from the Secretary of State's office, State Capitol, Room 026, Capitol Mall, Little Rock, phone 501-682-5070, at $.25 per copy. 
  • Arkansas Legislative Digest. 1939-date. Current session laws are available by subscription at $575 per session. 
  • Advance Legislative Service. Acts. (Charlottesville, VA: Lexis Law Publishing). Published during and immediately after a legislative session. It contains no annotations.
  • Acts of Arkansas. (Little Rock, AR: Secretary of State).  This is published since 1837 biennially, except for special sessions. It contains the General Acts of Arkansas in volume 1 and the appropriation acts in volume 2. Each volume usually contains several parts, called "Books." A subject index is available in both volumes.
  • Arkansas General Assembly, Acts. (Hein) Territorial session laws, 1818-1936 (Territories of Missouri and Arkansas); state session laws, 1836-date. This is available on microfiche at the UALR/Pulaski County Law Library.

VII. Summaries of Session Laws

  • Arkansas. Bureau of Legislative Research. Summary of Action on General Legislation by the ... General Assembly of the State of Arkansas. Biennial. 1987-date. 
  • Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, Summary of Action on Fiscal Legislation by the ... General Assembly of the State of Arkansas. Biennial. 1987-date. 
  • Arkansas General Assembly. Session Summaries.

VIII. Hearings

The Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Senate publishes videos of their committee meetings beginning with March 1, 2001. The videos are available as computer files that may by watched with a Real Player program. The videos are located at the legislature's website: 

No other hearings are published and no official transcripts are made. Notes taken by staff members are not available to the general public.

IX. Committee Reports

No written reports. Reports on legislation are limited to the following recommendations which are recorded in the Journal of each house: pass, pass as amended, concur in, or not pass.

X. Debates

Floor debates are not officially recorded.

XI. Journals and Proceedings, 1st Session, 1836 - 60th Session, 1955

  • Arkansas. General Assembly. Journals of the ... Session of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas. (Little Rock, AR: Woodruff & Pew, Printers to the State). 1836-1840. 
    • Not indexed. 
    • Consists of Senate and House Journals issued together in separately paged sections. 
    • Contains the transcribed proceedings of both houses. 
    • Held by: 
      • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library, Little Rock 1837 [1836], 1838, 1840 
      • University of Arkansas Young Law Library, Fayetteville 1836, 1838, 1840 
  • Arkansas. General Assembly. Senate, Journals of the Senate for the ... Session of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas
    • published from the 4th Session, 1842/43 - 1955
    • containing the transcribed proceedings of the Senate
    • Not indexed
    • Holdings: 
      • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library, Little Rock 5th Session, 1844/45 - 53nd Session, 1939. 
      • University of Arkansas Young Law Library, Fayetteville 4th Session, 1842/43 - 60th Session, 1955. 
      • Secretary of State, Elections Office 4th Session, 1842/43 - 1940/41. 
  • Arkansas General Assembly. House of Representatives. Journals of the House for the ... Session of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas. (Little Rock: AR: Eli Colby), 4th Session (1842/43) - 60th Session (1955)
    • containing the transcribed proceedings of the House. 
    • Not indexed. 
    • Holdings: 
      • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library, Little Rock 5th Session, 1844/45 - 56th Session, 1947 
      • University of Arkansas Young Law Library, Fayetteville 4th Session, 1842/43 - 60th Session,1955
  • Journal of the Convention of Delegates of the People of Arkansas Assembled at the Capitol, January 4, 1864

  • Journals of the House of Representatives on the Sessions of 1864, 1864-65, and 1865. (Little Rock, AR: Price & Barton, 1870). 

    • Holdings: 
      • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library, Little Rock 
      • University of Arkansas Young Law Library, Fayetteville

XII. House and Senate Journals: Unpublished

The Secretary of State's Elections Office houses deposit copies of House and Senate Journals in oversize red binders. The early volumes consist of handwritten, transcribed proceedings. Later volumes consist of summaries of actions taken with no minutes or transcribed proceedings, lists of bills considered with results of either do pass, do not pass, concur in, as amended. The binders contain a record of votes on bills, giving the number of votes in four categories in later years, for example, listing the number of votes under affirmative, negative, absent or not voting, and voting present.

The journals include the text of amendments to bills, brief summary results of committee action, the texts of inaugural addresses of the governors, and selected speeches. Indexed by bill number. 

  • Holdings for Senate: 1840-date. 
  • Holdings for House: 1842-date. 
  • The journals are available for viewing at the Secretary of State's Elections Office; they will copy for $0.25 per page. 
  • Contact info: The Elections Office, Room 026, State Capitol, Little Rock, Arkansas.

XIV. Newspapers

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette occasionally reports excerpts of floor debates. 

  • Holdings: 
    UALR/Pulaski County Law Library

    • Little Rock Arkansas Gazette, 1819 - 4/19/1890
    • Microfilm Arkansas Gazette Index, 1819 - 1990 
    • Arkansas Democrat Gazette, current 2 months 
  • Central Arkansas Library System

    • Little Rock Arkansas Gazette, 1819 - 10/18/1991 
    • Arkansas Democrat, 1878 - 10/18/1991 
    • Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1991-date 
    • Lexis. Library: News, File: ARKDEM, October 1984-date

XVI. Directory of Publishers, Libraries, and State Offices

  • Arkansas Legislative Digest, Inc.
    411 South Victory Street, Suite 203
    Little Rock, AR 72202

  • Arkansas Supreme Court Library
    Justice Building
    625 Marshall Street
    Little Rock, AR 72201

  • Central Arkansas Library System (Public Library)
    100 Rock Street
    Little Rock, AR 72201

  • Information Network of Arkansas
    425 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 3565
    Little Rock, AR 72201

  • Lexis Law Publishing (formerly Michie Company)
    701 E. Water Street
    Charlottesville, VA 22906

  • LexisNexis
    9443 Springboro Pike
    Miamisburg, OH 45342

    105 North 28th Street
    Van Buren, AR 72956

  • William S. Hein & Co.
    10368 Centennial Road Littleton, CO 80127

  • State Offices, State Capitol
    Capitol Mall, 
    Little Rock AR 72201 

    • Bureau of Legislative Research
      Room 315

    • Chief Clerk of the House
      Speaker's Office, Third Floor, Room 350

    • Public Bill Room, 
      Third Floor
      375-7771 Ext. 262 


  • UALR/Pulaski County Law Library
    UALR Bowen School of Law
    1203 McMath Avenue
    Little Rock, AR 72202-5142

  • University of Arkansas
    Young Law Library
    Robert A. Leflar Law Center
    Waterman Hall
    Fayetteville, AR 72701

  • West Group
    610 Opperman Road
    Eagan, MN 55164-0526
    Law Librarian hotline: 800-401-9378

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