Being able to understand the legislative process can be daunting for those of us who keep our noses primarily in the biomedical journal literature. But, there are several courses where students in the health sciences need to track legislative history and try to find other information about pending legislation. Sometimes, this can be a real challenge.

I admit that I am a veritable rookie at this kind of information search. But, in the spirit of lifelong learning and being able to help students who need assistance, I am learning a lot, and (jointly) putting together a soon-to-be-released web page on such resources with my colleague Anne Gilliland. Until it’s released, here are a few nuggets on finding Ohio pending legislation and comments.

  • The State of Ohio presents a useful graphic on how a bill becomes a law in Ohio. Being familiar with this process helps you to know where to look for comments (standing committee reports). It also helps visualize all the places bills can die in the process. One big thing I’ve learned is you  must separate state legislative processes from federal processes. This graphic helps with that.
  • Ohio also provides a page to search for legislative information by bill number, sponsor, and keyword, to name a few options. Once you find the bill, you’ll find links to status of the bill, votes, sponsors, and other information.
  • Gongwer is a news service that provides comprehensive coverage of legislative activity in Ohio. Their web site allows one to search for specific information, but to get to full text materials, you need a subscription. Luckily, the Moritz Law Library does have access to this database within Drinko Hall only. So, it may take a special trip to the library, but it will likely be worth the effort.
  • Other sources for commentary on pending state legislation might include newspaper articles or professional health associations web sites (Ohio State Medical Association, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Nurses Association, etc.). A good source for finding full text of Ohio newspaper articles is America’s Newspapers — Ohio which includes coverage of 5 major Ohio newspapers.

 

– Stephanie Schulte