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Legislative History Research: Step 1: Bill Info

A guide for researching the history of the Minnesota State Legislature.

Which bills are you researching?

Every bill introduced into the legislature is identified by bill number--those originating in the House are start with the label HF (House File) and those from the Senate start withthe label SF (Senate File).  The first step in legislative research is finding the correct bill number.  

  • If you already know the HF or SF number for your bill, move on to Step 2.  
  • If you do not know the bill number, follow the instructions in the boxes below.  

For legislation on a subject...

For current laws on a particular subject, search or browse in the online Minnesota Statutes Topics Index.  Once you find the law that interests you, follow the instructions in the next box to research the history.  

For bills from a specific session, search in the House and Senate Journals and record HF and SF numbers that interest you.  The House Journals (1994 onward) and Senate Journals (1995 onward) are searchable online.  For earlier sessions, use the Subject Index section of the printed index volumes to find bill titles and numbers.    

For a particular law's history...

  1. Search Minnesota Statutes, either in print or using the online Minnesota statutes.   
  2. Check the History Note at the end of the statute. This note consists of citation(s) for the year, chapter, article, and section of Minnesota Session Laws.
  3. Go to the Minnesota Session Laws for the years mentioned in the History Note.  (If using the online version of the statutes, History Note entries link directly to the online Session Laws.) New language is underlined and deleted language is crossed out.  
  4. Find the House File (HF) or Senate File (SF) number in the heading of the Session Law chapter.  The heading is likely to look like this:  CHAPTER 19~H. F. No. 125  

With the Bill Number, you are ready to move on to Step 2

Bill Info Links

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.