Referencing Style Guide

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Statutes (enacted laws)

Usually immediately after its passage, a legislative enactment is published individually in a form known as a “slip law.” At the end of a legislative session, these Slip Laws are combined into bound volumes called Session Laws in order of their passage.

Federal and state statutes have similar “life cycle.” Once a piece of legislation has been enacted by the Congress or state legislature and signed by the President or Governor, it is printed as an individual document called a Slip Law. At the end of a legislative session, the Slip Laws are combined into bound volumes called Session Laws in the order in which they were passed. Lastly, statutes are organized by subject and published in Codes. If possible, cite statutes in force to the current official code. Cite to the session laws or slip laws if no citation to the code is possible.
Federal Statutes

United States Statues Published as Slip Laws

Standard format:

Official or popular name of the statute, if the law has one (if not named, “Act of [full date]), P.L. No.XXX-YYY [Xs represent the Congress in which the law was enacted and the Ys represent the number of the statute], volume symbol, volume number, abbreviated name of the session laws title [i.e., “Stat.”], page number, (year of statute, if not in its name)


Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, P.L. No.101-336, § 2 104 Stat. 328.

Preventive Health Amendments of 1993, P.L. No. 103-183, §107 Stat. 2226.

Employee Retirement Income Act, P.L. No.93-406, §99 Stat. 829 (1974).

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