I read a paragraph in a 1904 paper, that indicated Wisconsin and two neighboring states where voting on a new law. A father of a boy that died from trauma was trying to get a law passed. I name of the father and the town involved in the accident are not listed. I don’t want to explain the exact case as I think it will make for a good read this fall. Where can I look for laws that were proposed or voted on in Wisconsin. A online or local library source is the best for now.
Since you don’t want to reveal any info, go to two places: your local library and a University library, if you have one.
Historical newspaper databases are ProQuest and Newspaperarchive.
Here is Wisconsin’s State Law Library (obtained by Google). As I read the information, for a fee, they would probably be willing to look up the information you are interested in and send you a copy.
If you are interested in recent laws, they are available through the website. 1904 is a long time ago, though, so locating the information is likely to be a pain. I would be surprised if Wisconsin legislative history from that long ago is available in electronic format.
Is there a local law library near you? A law library is much more likely to keep print copies of Wisconsin’s legal history than a public library. Still, assuming that a law library has the print documents, they may very well have them in storage so some research via computer or telephone might be advantageous. Material in storage can be retrieved, but it may take time, depending on where the stored material is located.
I lost the last post/
There are no law libraries around here. I wondered if the library might get a book every year that listed all laws voted on. Maybe they pay a yearly fee for a database online. The original was on microfilche at the library. I have very little additional information, other than the subject of the law.
I have never had any interest in looking up proposed Wisconsin laws, and I only know enough about the law in another state (New York) to be dangerous. My knowledge of the history of laws comes primarily from knowledge of federal government documents–which is not treated the same as state government documents. And even there, my practical knowledge is limited.
That said, a listing of all bills voted on, which does not contain the actual content of said bills, might be a reasonable length, but probably would not contain enough information to help you. (And I’m not even knowledgable to know if such a list is printed). A listing of all bills voted on which contains the content of said bills probably would help you, but is going to take up enough space on the library shelves that the library might very well not keep it forever. And I’m still not sure that just any public library would bother to keep such a thing–or neccessarily acquire it in the first place. Still, if you want to know for sure, visit or contact your local library and ask them. They may not have the law, but ought to be better situated to help you or at least confirm that they don’t have such a listing.
I strongly suspect that the only Wisconsin government documents available online are those available through the website I linked to in my first post. I could be wrong, but I question highly the notion that there is enough interest in old laws in Wisconsin for anyone to put them into a database. It is possible that those available from the State Law Library are also available from a vendor, but that still doesn’t guarentee that your local public library would have access. This is one of those issues where the information only appears online if there is enough demand for the information. It is easy to make new laws available electronically, it is tedious, time-consuming, and expensive to make old laws available electronically–and 1904 is probably not old enough to make it truly interesting to anyone. But, you never know for sure.
Other research suggestions:
State Archives may contain the documents, perhaps on microfilm. It would be helpful if you could determine a bill number somehow…
Law Reviews from your in state law schools, or those in the neighboring states. These are collections of scholarly articles, with commentary and analysis.
Newspapers from the time may reference the debates
a legal encyclopedia, such as American Jurisprudence might contain some useful information on the topic, perhaps including a mention of pending legislation at the time.
Odds are good that your county has a local law library. You might want to check with the office of the clerk of a court where you live.
You might want to check with Lexis or Westlaw. They both operate massive online legal databases, and there may be a way you could run a search to determine if any potentially relevant documents existed in their system before being charged.
Thanks for the suggestions people. Eureka I followed up leads that started on the link you gave. One place had packeages of proposed laws, for Wisconsin listing the priliminary details collected. The catch is Wisconsin only did this from about 1925 on. I definately see this being a long term project that I will continue to get in mind as I look though stuff for other reasons. Thanks agains I already have alot of stuff to keep me bussy now, as I really do need to find earlier mentions in the news.
I’d be glad to search for you with my access to ProQuest and Newspaperarchive, but I would need more info. Let me know if this fits in with your plans.
samclem: I have to get a physical copy of the original so I can know the exact content. This subject was a something I found researching a different subject. I’ll get the copy and then I likely will drop you I a line. I can’t aford to be spending money I don’t have on the research. Once again thanks everyone.