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State Government Information

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Official California and Other State Documents

The USF Libraries have selected California State government documents.  The Dorraine Zief Law Library is the official California State depository at USF, but its collection consists primarily of legal materials. The Gleeson Library | Geschke Learning Resource Center does not systematically collect California state or other state government documents.  Selected state government documents are cataloged and may be located in Ignacio, and some others are shelved by issuing agency in the Government Documents room.  For access to more comprehensive collections of California State government documents, consider the California State Home Page and the Government Information Center of the main San Francisco Public Library in the Civic Center.

It is very important to note that state governments publish and distribute only a small amount of the same kinds of government publications distributed at the federal level.  For example, while the U.S. government almost always publishes hearings, many legislative hearings at the state level are not transcribed or published. State government documents, moreover, are much more difficult to locate than federal documents as they are generally not organized as well as federal documents.  Ignacio, the California State Home Page, MELVYL, and California State Library Catalog will help you locate specific titles of California State government documents. For documents from other states, consult the official state government Internet site or the catalogs of the State Libraries, the major universities, or library networks in the states. To obtain copies of government documents not at the libraries, look on the Internet for the specific titles, use Link + or Interlibrary Loan, or call the issuing agency.

State Policy Resources

You may find information on state policy in a variety of resources. If your topic is recent, you will have a better chance of finding information on the Internet. You may wish to check policy and research institution Web sites such as those of RAND California or the Urban Institute.  If your topic has been controversial, it has been reported in the news and probably has been or will be tested in the courts. You may wish to check newspapers, news magazines, and legal resources.  A very useful source may be a law review article. Search for these articles in LegalTrac and find the journals at the Law Library. If a law review article has been written on your policy, it will likely provide background information, the major effects of the policies, and a comparison of the applicable laws in different state.  If your topic was an issue that went through the legislative process, you may wish to review legislative histories. The literature for legislative histories is well established for each state and is available in the annotated codes and on the Internet. If your topic was an initiative or proposition, consider looking at the election voter's pamphlet. You will also want to look at news articles and information about the sponsors, either individuals and/or organizations, of the initiative or proposition.  For information on how a policy is being applied, some of the things to look for are court cases, more laws on the policy, discussions by organizations interested in the policy, statistics, and implementation and/or enforcement issues by state agencies.

Major Sources

California State (see also Law sources)

  • Public Policy Institute of California

    The Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan research organization, provides full-text of recent research on California's economic, social, and political issues.  
  • RAND California 

    Operated by a unit of RAND, a national policy think tank, this site contains current California and U.S. data as well as indexes and full-text of recent research and other publications from leading California public policy and research institutions. 
  • MELVYL  -- California Digital Library, University of California

    University of California system union catalog contains bibliographic information on many California State government documents at UC and CSU schools and at Stanford.
  • Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times (via LexisNexis Academic)

    The Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times generally take a statewide approach in their coverage of issues and politics.

  • A Guide to California Government.  League of Women Voters of California.    REFERENCE JK8716 .G84 1992

  • California Public Sector.  California Public Sector Publications.
    REFERENCE JK8730 .C358 1999
All states
  • Stateline.org -- Pew Center on the States

    Operated by a research institution, this site provides information on each state government and coverage of current state policy issues and news.  
  • The Book of the States. Council of State Governments. 
    REFERENCE JK2403 .B72 v.31 1996-97 (earlier in stacks) and LAW REFERENCE JK2403.B6 (earlier in storage)

    Contains substantial background and statistical information on each state as well as a section of essays on state government and such topics as state environmental management and health care reform.
  • Urban Institute

    The site of the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization, includes recent research reports, state case study reports, and a state database with information on the fifty states and the District of Columbia covering topics such as income security, health, child well-being, social services, and demographic, fiscal and political conditions.
  • Newspapers (via LexisNexis Academic)

    Includes full text newspapers from around the U.S. and around the world.
  • NewsLibrary -- MediaStream, Inc.

    List of links to many newspaper archives from all over the U.S.
Law (California)
  • Pacific Law Journal  University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.  LAW-STACKS K16 .A26 LIB. HAS: v.1(1970)-27(1995/1996)

    A law review journal covering California. Each January issue reviews selected California legislation of the prior year.
Law (all states)
  • Subject Compilations of State Laws Greenwood Press.  LAW REFERENCE KF1 .F68 LIB. HAS: 1960/79 - Latest received: 1998-99

    Topically arranged list of state laws. Includes citations to law review articles where relevant. Good starting point if you would like to browse topics or if you are looking for another state to compare with California.

  • Annotated states codes

    The official code of each state along with supplementary information, such as citations to relevant law review articles or court cases. The annotations help describe the law and its history and effect.  Available for almost every state at the Law Library. (Official codes are available for every state.)  

  • State Legislative Sourcebook  Government Research Service  LAW REFERENCE JK2495 .S72 2000

    Includes official state legislature information.

  • Law review articles in law journals

    Searchable in LegalTrac via InfoTrac. You may find an article comparing laws in different states on your topic. Law journals focusing on California include the Pacific Law Journal and California Lawyer (formerly titled State Bar Journal). 

  • Topical reviews of law.  Various at the Law Library.

    Comprehensive review of law nationwide in specific subject areas, such as employment law or environmental law.

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