Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

Skip to content

Website Catalog

WSLL @ Your Service June 2015

What's New - Lisa Winkler

Upcoming Classes

Need to find the legislative intent of a statute but unsure how to conduct legislative history research? Are you ready to move past basic functions in WestlawNext to maximize your research results? Sign up for one of our classes to hone your skills.

CLE classes

Introduction to Legislative History Research
Wednesday, June 10, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee Public Library, Meeting Room 1
FREE. 1 CLE credit. Registration is suggested through the Milwaukee Public Library and space is limited. Call (414) 286-3011 to register.

Intermediate WestlawNext
Tuesday, June 16, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: Wisconsin State Law Library training room
FREE. 1 CLE credit. Register now.

top Up to Top

This Just In - Pete Boll

New title! Annotated Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions
American Bar Association, 2015
WSLL Call Number: KF 308 .A925 2015

In its first edition, this new title provides a practical analysis of the cases and other legal authorities essential to understanding the application of the Black Letter Standards and Commentary for lawyer discipline. These standards provide flexibility for courts and disciplinary agencies in imposing lawyer sanctions for misconduct. In 2012 the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline determined that unlike the Comments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct or the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct, the Commentary to the Black Letter Standards reads more like annotations. Removing the Commentary from the Standards policy allows the annotations to be updated at regular intervals ensuring their timeliness and utility to the courts, profession, and the public.

Updated! Subdivision Law and Management, May 2015 update, by James A. Kushner
Thomson Reuters, 2015
WSLL Call Number: KF 5698 .S873

Useful for zoning and land use law, Kushner updates his two volume treatise covering the complex issues of subdivisions and growth management. Recent developments include:

Phillips v. Montgomery County, 442 S.W. 3d 233 (Tenn. 2014), the state constitution's takings clause encompasses regulatory takings to the same extent as Fifth Amendment's taking clause.

Lee v. Houser, 148 So. 3d 406 (Ala. 2013), municipal immunity did not apply to town that sought extraterritorial jurisdiction over private property to prevent development in challenge by developer against town and town planning commission.

New Titles RSS Feed
See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

top Up to Top

Tech Tip - Heidi Yelk

A Faster Start to Legislative History Research

If you have ever conducted legislative history research, you know it can be a time-consuming endeavor. This Tech Tip demonstrates time-saving techniques using the Wisconsin State Legislature's website.

Generally, the first step in the legislative history process is locating the legislative act that created the language in question. For example, Wis. Stat. § 254.74 sets forth powers of the Dept. of Health Services and local health departments. Under this statute, the department may provide a waiver to allow bed & breakfast establishments to serve breakfast to non-renters, if certain conditions are met (See § 254.74(1p)). A typical legislative history inquiry may ask what is meant by "property contiguous to the property" as stated § 254.74(1p)(a)3. Did the legislature debate that phrase?

To begin your research you will want to review the drafting record, but first you need to locate the act that added "property contiguous to the property" to the statutes. The traditional method is to start with the statute's history note and check each act listed. Here is the history note listing over a dozen acts that affected § 254.74. This way may take a while.

History: 1975 c. 413 s. 13; Stats. 1975 s. 50.57; 1983 a. 163, 203, 538; 1985 a. 29; 1985 a. 332 s. 251 (1); 1987 a. 27; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 27 s. 77; Stats. 1993 s. 254.74; 1995 a. 27 ss. 6343m, 9126 (19); 1995 a. 417; 1997 a. 43; 2007 a. 20 s. 9121 (6) (a); 2007 a. 205; 2011 a. 32, 78.

But wait! You can save yourself lots of time (and skip the books) by using the Wisconsin State Legislature's online archive of Wisconsin Acts. Go to the legislature's archive page. Click on the word "Acts" at the top of the Act column. A page will open that lists acts signed in the current legislative session. In the upper right corner, enter the targeted phrase in the search box: "property contiguous to the property."

search box screenshot

The search, which defaults to the current biennium, finds nothing. Using the "search filter" tool, click "remove filter" after 2015 biennium. This allows you to search all acts in the database.

search filters

This search of all available acts finds 1997 Wisconsin Act 43 with the language "property contiguous to the property."

search results

A review of Act 43 reveals this is indeed the act that created this language. Try this time-saving approach the next time you start a legislative history project.

top Up to Top

WSLL Recommends: Legal Research in Wisconsin

Legal research in Wisconsin

In a library full of multi-volume treatises the smaller books can sometimes get overlooked. Such is the case with Legal research in Wisconsin, by Theodore A. Potter (former State Law Librarian Jane Colwin was also a contributor).

The first two chapters give a concise overview of the history and structure of the Wisconsin Court System, published and unpublished opinions, and case research. The rest of the book includes chapters on statutory research, legislative histories, court rules, administrative law, local laws, and the Wisconsin Constitution.

What's invaluable about this book is the comprehensive coverage information for each type of legal authority source. This book is frequently used for its detailed information about where historical sources of the law are published or archived.

For example, the chapter on statutory research includes title variations and date ranges for older versions of the statutes and their accompanying materials. These references can be very helpful when digging into an older history question. Has it been a while since you researched a Wisconsin Court Order from a statute's history note? Start with this book to learn how those are created and where to find the background materials.

Pair this volume with Wisconsin legal research. Written by law librarians Patricia Cervenka and Leslie Behroozi, this book provides an overview of basic sources and strategies on the Wisconsin Constitution, Statutes and court rules, administrative law, and case law. Published in 2011, this book has more information on recent online access to law sources, including popular databases like Westlaw and HeinOnline.

The next time you need to step outside of your research comfort zone, turn to one of these books to get up to speed quickly on your topic and find the sources you need fast.

top Up to Top

Librarians in Action - Lisa Winkler

DCLL Facilitates Access to the Courts at Law Day 2015 - Bob Lopez

The Dane County Law Library (DCLL) celebrated Law Day on May 1 in the Dane County Courthouse. This year the American Bar Association chose the theme "Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law" in recognition of its 800th anniversary. Bob Lopez, DCLL Librarian, participated in the organization of several activities as a member of the Dane County Bar Association's Courthouse Committee. Notable public events included a community mock trial featuring student jurors, a tour of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, three free continuing legal education (CLE) seminars, and volunteer attorneys who provided free pro se legal consultations for the entire day.

Jaime Healy-Plotkin Travels to Washington D.C. to Support Libraries

Jaime has been a member of the Madison Public Library's Board of Trustees for two years and a representative to the South Central Library System (SCLS) Board of Trustees. In this capacity, on May 5, she attended the American Library Association's (ALA) National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. to advocate for SCLS and Wisconsin libraries. High priority topics discussed with the Wisconsin representatives included budget appropriations, privacy and surveillance, Net Neutrality, copyright, school libraries, and Freedom of Information Act updates. Jaime spoke on the importance of Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding, which is the only federally funded program matched at the state level. SCLS uses this money to deliver books and materials to libraries throughout Wisconsin who share resources, including the UW System, private and technical colleges, the Milwaukee County Law Library and Wisconsin State Law Library.

Carol Hassler and Lisa Winkler Share Best Practices on Government Information Day

The UW-Madison Memorial Library hosted Government Information Day on May 29. Librarians convened to share best practices for storing, using, and sharing government information. Carol Hassler, Web Services Librarian, presented an overview of the county legal resources database, the local ordinance index on our website, and why these are special resources. Lisa Winkler, Outreach Services Librarian, discussed our library's wiki, a website that allows staff to collectively manage knowledge by adding, editing, and maintaining a web-based intranet. With roughly 30 attendees present, there was a lively discussion about how Wisconsin librarians can improve efficient access to government information.

top Up to Top

Comments Welcome!

Keep Up With Current News

WSLL Facebook Fan Page Like us on Facebook

WSLL Facebook Fan Page Add us on Google+

WSLL LinkedIn Page Follow us on LinkedIn