New Guide
An updated version of the State and Local Government Law Research Guide is available here:
Antieau, Chester J., Antieau on Local Government Law, 2d ed. New York: Matthew Bender & Co.,  (6 vols., looseleaf; supplemented three times annually; highly regarded treatise on local government law.) KF5300.A6 A52 5th Floor Stacks. Available and current on LexisAdvance.

Coates, Timothy T., California Government Tort Liability Practice, 4th ed. Berkeley,California: Continuing Education of the Bar, 1999- . KFC332 C35 Research Alcove. Available in the CEB OnLAW database.

League of California Cities, The California Municipal Law Handbook. Sacramento: The League, 2011. This handbook provides municipal law practitioners a ‘source of first resort' in researching a given area of California municipal law. KFC752A49 Research Alcove. It is available in the CEB OnLAW.

Matthews, Thomas and Bryon Matthews, Matthews Municipal Ordinances: Text and Forms, 2nd ed.St Paul, MN: West Group (Clark Boardman Callaghan),  (7 vols. with annual pocket supplements; guide to the law and drafting of municipal ordinances.) KF5313.M342, Research Alcove. Also available on WestlawNext.

McQuillin, Eugene, The Law of Municipal Corporations, 3d ed. St. Paul, MN: West Group (Clark Boardman Callaghan),  (20 vols. with annual pocket supplements; definitive work in the field of municipal corporation law.) KF5305.M34 Research Alcove. Also available on WestlawNext.

Sands, C. Dallas & Libonati, Michael E., Local Government Law. St Paul, MN: West Group (Clark Boardman Callaghan), 1981-2001. 4 vols., looseleaf; supplemented annually; includes extensive citations to primary and secondary authorities; an excellent treatise on local government law for both municipal attorneys and elected municipal officials.) KF5300.S26 5th FloorStacks. Also available on WestlawNext.

Singer, Norman J., Statutes and Statutory Construction, 7th ed. Deerfield, IL: Clark Boardman Callaghan, 2007- (4 vols. with annual pocket supplements. This is the latest edition of Sutherland Statutory Construction and is the leading treatise on the subject.) KF425.S9 2007 Research Alcove. Also available on WestlawNext

Also see the annotations to California Code of Civil Procedure sections 1858  Westlaw and 1859  Westlaw , which govern statutory construction in California and to the maxims of jurisprudence in the California Civil Code at sections 3509, et. seq.

For additional listings and evaluative information, see the section on "Municipal Corporations" in: Svengalis, Kendall, The Legal Information Buyer's Guide and Reference Manual, Barrington, R.I.: Rhode Island Law Press, 2013. KF1.S84 Reference Desk.

Research Guides
California Administrative Law - This library publication is a step-by-step guide to finding California regulations, regulatory history, and administrative decisions at the Hastings Law Library.

Compiling a California Legislative History
- This library publication is a step by step to doing California legislative history research at the Hastings Law Library.
Primary Law - Municipal
Municipal Codes online from
San Francisco Municipal Codes
are available on the Internet; each code is in a separate searchable database published by American Legal Publishing Corporation. The San Francisco City Charter and the City and County of San Francisco Municipal Code are available at the Reference Desk.

Westlaw has forms related to municipal law in AmJur Legal Forms Municipal Law
Primary Law - State and Federal
Official California Legislative Information is the official site for California legislative information maintained by the Legislative Counsel of California, pursuant to California law. There is a great deal of useful information available at this site including:
California Attorney General Opinions from 1986 to current are available at the Office of the Attorney General Website and can be searched by word, phrase or opinion number (e.g., 01-107). There is also a monthly opinion report current for pending assignments and activities of the Opinion Unit with links to newly issued opinions. Attorney General Opinions from 1943 to current are available in the 4th Floor Stacks (KFC780 .A55) and from 1852 to 1943 in Micrographics (KF5406.A619 A88).

California Bills, other sources: 
  • Bills from 1867 to current are available in print at the San Francisco Law Library.
  • Bills from 1963 to current are available in fiche in the Micrographics Room.

California Code of Regulations  The unofficial California Code of Regulations (CCR) web site contains the text of the regulations that have been formally adopted by state agencies, reviewed and approved by the Office of Administrative Law, and filed with the Secretary of State.  The Official version known as Barclays Official California Code of Regulations, is available in loose-leaf printed format at the First Floor Library.

California Ballot Propositions and Initiative Database -- searchable database of California Ballot materials (1911- present)

California Government Legal Information indexed by Yahoo. This site provides links to the California Code and to various directories of California legal information.

FindLaw California provides a short directory with links to most of the important California legal information available on the Internet.

FDsys is the official online Federal Government information service provided by the US Government Printing Office. GPO's Federal Digital System provides access to the full-text of numerous government publications including: The Federal Register; The Congressional Record; Congressional Bills, House & Senate Calendars, Congressional Reports; the Congressional Directory; Public Laws; the US Government Manual; and the United States Code.

ProQuest Congressional
Provides comprehensive access to US legislative documents and congressional publications from Congressional Information Service, Inc.

Proquest Legislative Insight
Includes compiled legislative histories, legislative documents and congressional publications related to enacted laws.

The San Francisco City Charter and the City and County of San Francisco Municipal Code are available at the Reference Desk.  The library has also created a web site with links to all of the SF Codes available online. is a service provided by the Library of Congress. It contains the full text of all versions of House and Senate bills (101st - 107th congress) , as well as the full text of The Congressional Record (101st - 107th congress) and Committee Reports (104th - 107th congress).

Docket information is available for the California Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal on the California Courts web page. Docket information for the superior courts in California may be available online from individual court web sites. You can find a superior court web site through the California Courts' Find A Court page.

Selected California Trial court orders and documents are available on Westlaw

Dockets and selected trial court documents are availble on BloombergLaw

California and State Resources
Book of the States: 2013.  (Published by The Council of State Governments)  LOCATION: Reference Desk JK2403.B6.

California, Cities, Towns & Counties. Palo Alto, CA: Hornwood Press, 1987-2009.  (Annual publication provides basic data profiles for all California municipalities and counties.) 5th Floor Stacks - HA267.C3.

California State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Joseph R. Grodin, Calvin R. Massey, and Richard B. Cunningham; foreword by Malcolm M. Lucas. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, c1993. KFC680.1879.A6.G76 - Reference desk. (Currently in revision by Michael Salerno, Darien Shanske and Joseph Grodin)

Council of State Governments (CSG) State Directories. (Annual, 1996/97 - current). Current at Reference desk; Older editions are in the 5th floor stacks JK 2403 S71; JK 2403 S712; JK 2403 S714.
Directory I - Elective Officials
Directory II - Legislative Leadership, Committees & Staff
Directory III - Administrative Officials

Current Municipal Problems. St. Paul, MN : West, a Thompson Business; published quarterly. "A selection of articles and information highlighting administrative and legal issues meeting the needs of local government officials." (vol.1 (1959/76) - to date.) KF5305.A5 C87 Fifth Floor Stacks; current year at the Circulation Desk.

The International Municipal Lawyers Association, or IMLA, hosts a blog about local government issues. IMLA's Model Ordinance Service is now only available by subscription.It is a "comprehensive collection of model ordinances, editor's comments, annotations, and drafting guidelines covering a variety of current local government topics.".

Henke's California Law Guide. 8th ed. (2006)  Daniel W. Martin.  LOCATION: Reference Desk  KFC74 .H46 2006.

Municipal Lawyer. Washington, DC : International Municipal Lawyers Association; published bimonthly. (vol. 37 (1996) - to date.) KF5322.A15 M82 5th Floor Stacks; current available at the Circulation Desk.

Shepard's Ordinance Law Annotations.
(St Paul, MN: Thomson/West) (Volumes with an annual softbound cumulative supplement.) "a comprehensive digest of American cases that interpret or apply city and county ordinances."  KF5313.S5 4th Floor Reading Room.

State Legislative Sourcebook 2013: A Resource Guide to Legislative Information in the Fifty States. Lynn Hellebust. Topeka, Kan.: Government Research Service.  LOCATION:  Reference Desk KF4933.H44 2013.

State Yellow Book.   New York, NY : Monitor Pub. Co., 1989 -current.  (A semiannual directory of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the 50 state governments.)   LOCATION:  Most recent at Reference Collection; older editions are in the 5th Floor Stacks.  JK2679 .S72.

Subject Compilations of State Laws.
  Cheryl Rae Nyberg, editor.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981- current.   LOCATION: Reference Desk  KF1 .N93. Also available though HeinOnline. 

The Witkin Legal Institute
publishes highly-regarded, comprehensive, multi-volume treatises on California law: Summary of California Law, California Procedure, California Evidence, and California Criminal Law. All Witkin titles are available in the Research Alcove on the 4th Floor, KFC80.W5 2005, and on WestlawNext and LexisAdvance.
Government Websites
If you are looking for a California agency or department web site, you might want to use the list of state agencies and departments.

California Government Telephone Directory is an online directory that can be searched or browsed.

The California Law Revision Commission is responsible for the continuing substantive review of California statutory and decisional law. Check to see if the Commission has done an active study, inactive study, or report on your topic.  In print: COVERAGE: 1957-1961 and 1963 to current.   LOCATION: 4th Floor Reading Room - KFC27 .A3.

The California Research Bureau is part of the California State Library. The Bureau performs research for the Governor's Office, members of the Assembly and the Senate, and other constitutional officers. The Bureau's web site has a searchable list of published reports, most of which are available full text.

California State Assembly and California State Senate web sites include useful directory information.

California State Government Website - A searchable site containing information about California and links to California state government web sites.

California Statistical Abstract from the California Department of Finance. This has a compilation of data on social, economic, and physical aspects of the State.

The Judicial Council of California, the constitutionally mandated body responsible for improving the administration of justice in California.

Library of Congress Research Center
is an index of state and local government information on the Internet.

Congressional Research Service (CRS)
Reports are accessible through CQ. The Congressional Research Service provides research and analysis to the staff of congressional committees and Members of Congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process — from the early considerations that precede bill drafting, through committee hearings and floor debate, to the oversight of enacted laws and various agency activities.

Planning Documents at the IGS Library: the IGS Library also maintains a searchable database of local planning documents. The California Resources Agency provides the full text of various city, county, and regional plans at the Land Use Planning Information Network section.

The federal government's web site has a page of Resources for State and Local Employees, developed to give state and local government officials and employees easy access to federal information on the Internet. It includes links to the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, and International City/County Management Association. There is also a page of useful links to statistics at the state and local level.
Organization Websites
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has information and links about local projects on current issues.

The Council of State Governments , a non-partisan organization that promotes excellence in state government, maintains an index of state web pages available on the Internet and provides news about current state issues.

The Government Innovators Network is hosted by the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University. The site has news and resources on a variety of topics of interest to local and state governments, including economic and community development, health and social services, public infrastructure, and finance.

The Institute of Governmental Studies Library has links to detailed information on topical subjects in California government.

Institute for Local Government is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization committed to making California a better place to live and work. As the research arm of the League of California Cities, the Institute engages in research and education to promote and strengthen the processes of self-governance at the regional, local and community levels.

League of California Cities provides services including legislative advocacy on behalf of cities, educational programs and materials on subjects of concern to city officials, and an important research and information exchange. The League of California Cities publishes Western City Magazine; current and archived articles and legal notes are online and searchable on the web site.

The Local Government Environmental Assistance Network is a site developed by a partnership of organizations, including the National Association of Counties, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Air & Waste Management Association, and the Public Entity Risk Institute. The site provides environmental planning, management, funding, and regulatory information for local governments. is a "mash-up" of information on California and federal bills, combining the official bill text and the votes of legislators with data from You can search by bills, legislators, or interest groups.

NaCo (National Association of Counties) represents county governments in the United States. NaCo advocates county issues, does public outreach on county government, and assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research.

National Center for State Courts . Provides research, information services, education and consulting, focused on helping courts plan, make decisions, and implement improvements that save time and money, while ensuring judicial administration that supports fair and impartial decision-making.

National Conference of State Legislatures Internet site includes information, research, and publications on critical state issues. You can track legislation in the states at National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Tracking.

National Governors Association (NGA) is a policy organization for state governors. The NGA develops policy reports on various state programs, and maintains the NGA Center for Best Practices, which focuses on state innovations and best practices on issues that range from education and health to technology, welfare reform, and the environment.

NARC is the National Association of Regional Councils. NARC serves as the national voice for regionalism. NARC advocates for and provides services to its member councils of government (COGs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). 

Public Technology, Inc. (PTI), is the non-profit technology organization for all cities and counties in the United States. The National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and the International City/County Management Association, three primary local government associations, provide PTI with its policy direction, while a select group of city and county members conduct applied R&D and technology transfer functions.

State and County QuickFacts is a source of comparative information on local government, with an easy to use subject guide.

State of the Cities Data System from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) provides an interface to search the 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 decennial census data for demographic and economic characteristics. The Data System also allows searching for criminal, business, and housing data sets as well. is operated by the Pew Center on the States, a research organization administered by the University of Richmond, and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. It was founded in order to help journalists, policy makers and engaged citizens become better informed about innovative public policies.

State and Local Government on the Net
maintained by Piper Resources, includes Internet links to state and local government sites. is a statistical database which allows you to research and compare a multitude of different data on US states. It compiles information from various primary sources such as the US Census Bureau, the FBI, and the National Center for Educational Statistics. The site allows you to create pie charts, maps, graphs and scatterplots. The site also has thousands of map and flag images, state profiles, and correlations.

The Urban Institute investigates social and economic problems confronting the nation and analyzes efforts to solve these problems. The Institute seeks to increase Americans' awareness of important public choices and improve the formulation and implementation of government decisions. Much of its research is available to the public at their web site.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors allows you to search its Best Practices of City Government site. You can keyword search recent issues in municipal government, which may include references to the enabling ordinances.

Lexis and Westlaw and BloombergLaw
LexisAdvance and WestlawNext may be useful for comparing state statutes. If you need to find all of the state statutes on a particular topic, it may be easier to first consult the "Comparative State Law" resources listed above in the "Print Resources" section of this page. However, if someone else has not previously compiled a list of all of the statutes on a particular topic, then you may need to do the research yourself. Lexis and Westlaw are both good sources for compiling lists of state statutes, bills, and regulations.


  • All State Statutes  contains the statutory codes from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
  • State Codes, Constitutions, Court Rules and ALS - contains the statutory codes, state constitutions, court rules and current year slip laws (advance legislative service) from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
  • State Full Text of Bills, Current Session  - contains all state bills active in the current year
  • State Administrative Codes - combines all 50 state administrative codes.
  • State Registers  - combines all state registers currently available on Lexis (43 states)


  • All State Statutes Annotated contains the annotated statutes of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
  • All State Statute contains the unannotated statutes of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
  • State Bill Tracking contains the full text of all available bills (introduced, amended and enacted versions) from all states
  • Regulations- combines state administrative codes and the CFR.
  • Regulation Tracking- contains summaries and status information concerning pending and recently adopted regulations in all states.
  • Fifty State Surveys links to state statutes and regulations in a subject compilation


Subject Specialist
Picture: Hilary Hardcastle

Hilary Hardcastle
Head of Reference Services
Tel: 565-4792

Picture: Chuck Marcus

Chuck Marcus
Faculty Services Librarian
Tel: 565-4838

Picture: Vincent Moyer

Vincent Moyer
Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian
Tel: 565-4752

Encore Catalog Search

The Hastings Encore Catalog is our search engine to find books and journals in the Hastings Law Library; articles and journals on HeinOnline, ProQuest Central, Oxford Journals Online and PubMed Central; as well as materials found in libraries around the world via Worldcat.