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In January, the National Conference of State Legislatures compiled a survey of federal and state statutes regulating possession of a firearm by the mentally ill. The survey includes summaries of legislation and links to each statute.
January 3, 2013, is the start of the 113th Session of Congress. What that means as far as researching is that the default search for THOMAS (the Library of Congress website for free legislative information) is the current session. If you want to see legislation from last year (or any prior years), you need to do an Advanced Search.
In many states, new laws take effect on July 1st. CNN highlights some of the more colorful laws in this article.
The reason is because it was drafted as a uniform act by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). NCCUSL is an organization represented by lawyers from all 50 states who meet to propose laws on subjects that they believe should be consistent from state to state. NCCUSL drafts the uniform laws in hopes that the legislatures from the various states will adopt them and thereby create uniformity. NCCUSL has drafted more than 300 uniform laws and you can find them all on its website. It also provides information on why the law was drafted and which states have adopted each uniform law.
Washington’s legislature is back in session with plenty of interesting issues confronting it. Of course, there is the big issue of spending cuts and the budget. But there is also same-sex marriage, proposed changes to the initiative process, and hundreds of other issues on which legislation will be proposed. You can read and track those bills at the legislature’s home page.
If you need to follow federal legislation, Open Congress is a terrific resource. You can use the non-profit site to track the progress of legislation, find information about how your own representatives or senators have voted, and use the “follow the money” tool which ties campaign contributions to the content in bills and specific votes. If you’re tracking bills, Open Congress is particularly helpful in that it aggregates official information from Thomas with related news and blog postings.