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North Carolina Legislative History Research: Resources

Researching the legislative history of a state law can be a difficult task. This guide will help you understand the legislative process and how to find the history of a law in North Carolina.

Government & Heritage Library Holdings

GHL Online Catalog: - Access to the library's databases and holdings, which include:

  • Legislative Journals
  • Session Laws
  • Superseded Statutes
  • Current Statutes
  • Study Reports
  • Published Governors Papers
  • Agency Reports
  • Newspapers


North Carolina Digital Collections

North Carolina Digital Collections

In addition to links to the same sources as the NC Government Documents, the Digital Collection has the following materials that may be of use for legislative history and statutory history:

  • General Assembly Session Records (continually updated, but generally colonial and early statehood)
  • Governor's Papers, both Historical and Modern
  • North Carolina newspapers
  • State publications, including agency biennial and special reports


North Carolina Digital Collections image

North Carolina Legislative Library

Legislative Library:

The NC Legislative Library website has very helpful guides and resources available. For a quick guide, look at Legislative History: Step by Step (

The Research link ( and the Guides & Training link ( both take you to useful resources, guides, research, collections, and more. You can also find help on the Resources page (


North Carolina State Government Publications

NC State Government Publications Collection:

This site explains and lists Session Laws.

Under Research Guides, scroll down to Session Laws of NC. The topics this guide touches on are:

  • What are Session Laws?
  • How are they different from General Statutes?
  • Why would I search the Session Laws?
  • How are Session Laws arranged?

If you click on Session Laws under Browse the Collection, a list gives the links to the individual volumes.


North Carolina General Assembly

NC General Assembly:

On the main webpage, links to Legislation and Bills can be found on the main banner selection. This site also has some of the General Statutes of the last year and some information on session laws stretching back to 1959.


North Carolina Supreme Court Library

NC Supreme Court Library: Legislative History:

The page provides a definition and break-down of Legislative History.