Legislative Histories

A Nebraska legislative history is a series of documents related to legislative action taken on a legislative bill considered by the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. Legislative histories are frequently used by public officials, researchers and attorneys in order to better understand the intent of legislators in making particular policy decisions.

Documents that are available through the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature:

  • Committee Hearing Records: These records include the introducer's statement of intent, the public hearing transcript, executive session notes and the committee statement. The committee hearing transcript contains verbatim testimony and a question/answer period among senators and the public. Other documents include the legislative bill as it was introduced, the committee reports, any adopted amendments and exhibits offered at the public hearing.
  • Floor Debate Records: These records include a transcript of the verbatim discussion among senators during a legislative session, together with any references to the bill as it moves through the legislative process.

Information about bills introduced during the current Legislature, which consists of the regular and special sessions that take place during a two-year biennium, is located on the Legislature's web site. Information from previous biennia is stored at the State Capitol in Lincoln. Check below to find out where information about your bill of interest is located.

NOTE: Since bills reach different stages in the legislative process, the documents listed may not be available for all bills. Also, due to different storage processes and technology in earlier biennia, certain types of information may not be available.

Records for this period are scant so some documents will not be available. Committee hearing records are available on microfilm. There was no floor debate prior to 1960.

Documents from this time period are not available through the Clerk of the Legislature's Office. The State Law Library has Journals and Slip Laws prior to 1937. The State Law Library can be contacted at (402) 471-3189 or nsc.lawlibrary@nebraska.gov.

A gutted bill is one that, when introduced, addressed a certain subject matter but whose contents were changed during the legislative process. A bill’s content can be "gutted" entirely and replaced with new content, or other provisions can be added to the bill’s original content.

Gutting can make constructing a legislative history difficult. Beginning in 1991, the chronology of bills in the "Legislative Journal" will contain a citation if a bill has had other bills amended into it. Determining whether a bill prior to 1991 was gutted can be difficult; the first sign that a bill was gutted may be that the public hearing testimony (original bill) is not related to the bill as it was passed (gutted bill). However, you may find a reference to the content of the original bill in the floor debate records.

If you don't find what you need on the Legislature's web site you can request a legislative history from the Legislative Historian.