This guide includes links to the Illinois Constitution, Compiled Statutes, Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court cases and rules, Illinois administrative agencies, and Illinois regulations. This guide also provides information on how to construct an Illinois legislative history online using the General Assembly website.

I. Illinois Constitutions

II. Legislative Resources, Laws and Legislation

III. Legislative History

IV. Judicial Resources

V. Executive Branch and State Agencies

VI. Secondary Sources

 

I. ILLINOIS CONSTITUTIONS

 

II. LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES, LAWS AND LEGISLATION

Illinois General Assembly

The home page of the General Assembly in Springfield has links to pending bills, the Illinois Compiled Statutes, public acts, the Illinois constitution, information on the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate, including rules, transcripts, journals and schedules. Resources from previous General Assemblies, starting with the 77th General Assembly (1971-1972), are also available.

Illinois Compiled Statutes

Arranged by chapter. Sections of the Illinois Compiled Statutes can be searched by keyword or browsed by chapter. "Updating the database of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) is an ongoing process. Recent laws may not yet be included in the ILCS database, but they are found on this site as Public Acts soon after they become law." Note: Statutory changes are sometimes included in the statute database before they take effect and the version of the law that is currently in effect may have already been removed from the database. See ILCS page for more information. See disclaimer at web site that states, in part:

This site contains provisions of the Illinois Compiled Statutes from databases that were created for the use of the members and staff of the Illinois General Assembly. The provisions have NOT been edited for publication, and are NOT in any sense the "official" text of the Illinois Compiled Statutes as enacted into law. The accuracy of any specific provision originating from this site cannot be assured, and you are urged to consult the official documents or contact legal counsel of your choice. This site should not be cited as an official or authoritative source. Court decisions may affect the interpretation and constitutionality of statutes.

To determine if a particular section of the ILCS has proposed legislation pending, select Search by Keyword in the left sidebar. For example, if you want to find bills amending 735 ILCS 5/15-1101, enter "735 ILCS 5/15-1101" in the query box. (Use quotation marks for a more specific search.) The results show a list of pending or passed bills, in the current General Assembly, that affect your ILCS section.

If you are working with an old Illinois Revised Statute citation, a cross-reference chart is available to convert the Illinois Revised Statutes cite to Illinois Compiled Statutes cite as they existed on July 14, 1992.

Laws of Illinois

Digitized version of the Laws of Illinois from 1818 to 1920, 1971-present (collection not complete). Also includes territorial laws of the region.

Public Acts

Public Acts or session laws are laws as passed by the General Assembly. Public Acts are in a browseable and searchable database for the current General Assembly. Select Previous General Assemblies for public acts starting with the 90th G.A. (1997-1998) to previous G.A.

Bills and Resolutions

Includes text of bills, resolutions, joint resolutions, joint resolution constitutional amendments and executive orders. Arranged by house or senate number. Searchable. Select a bill number to display current bill status. Additional options include full-text, votes, or all actions.

Full Text:

The bill text link provides the text of the bill and links to amendments (if any). An engrossed bill is the final version of the bill as it leaves the originating chamber, including any amendments. An enrolled bill is the final version of the bill passed in identical form by both chambers. The enrolled bill leaves the General Assembly and is sent to the Governor.

Votes:

The votes link provides links to voting records for the bill.

All Actions:

The bill status link provides a chronological listing of activity on the bill in the General Assembly.

Senate and House

For the current General Assembly, the following information is available for each chamber:

Members:

Provides links to photos, legislative assignments, biography, list of bills sponsored and committee membership.

Schedules:

Lists legislative calendar, committee schedules, and veto sessions for the current General Assembly.

Committees:

Lists the committees, with link to members, and the bills sponsored by that committee.

Journals:

Covers activity in each chamber, including roll call votes, text of amendments and messages from the Governor.

Transcripts

Floor debates for each chamber arranged by date. (See Legislative History discussion below).

Rules

Rules of procedure for the respective chamber.

Audio and Video

Live session video/audio broadcast and is activated when the chamber is in session. Additionally, the House provides FOIA Information for requests and Special Investigative Committee regarding governor.

Previous General Assemblies (77th to 95th)

Select Previous General Assemblies from the ILGA website for public acts, legislation, transcripts, voting records, journals and roll calls starting with the 90th General Assembly. Not all resources available for every General Assembly. For the 77th G.A. (1971-1972) through the 89th G.A. (1995- 1996) only floor debate transcripts are available. (See below for legislative history research.)

 

III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

The most important components of Illinois legislative history are transcripts of floor debates of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Cook County Law Library has the House and Senate Floor debates available on microfiche from the 77th G.A. (October 1971) through the 92nd G.A. (2001-2002). These debates are fully indexed. Debate transcripts are also available from October 1971 to the present on the General Assembly website. After the 92nd General Assembly, floor debates are only available on the website.

If the transcripts are not yet available online, contact the transcription rooms in Springfield to find out when they will be available. For House floor transcripts, call the House Transcription Room at (217) 782-4818, and for Senate floor transcripts, call the Senate Transcription Room at (217) 782-6653. Please have the General Assembly number and bill number ready.

A. Procedure for Illinois Legislative History for the Current General Assembly

1. Identify Bill Number(s)

If the bill number(s) is known, skip to step 2. If the bill number is unknown, search to identify proposed bills affecting a particular section of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS). Enter, in quotes, the ILCS section in the By Keyword search box on the ILGA website. For example, to search for bills affecting the Flag Display Act, enter in query box: “5 ILCS 465”. This query will retrieve all bills in the current G.A. affecting any section of the Flag Display Act. After selecting relevant bills, run a bill status. A bill status will show the dates to check for potential debate in the transcripts.

2. Run Bill Status

(a) Knowing the bill number(s), select Bills & Resolutions from the ILGA website.

(b) This page has ranges of bill numbers for the House and Senate. Select the range that includes the bill number.

(c) Bill numbers appear on this page. Scroll down and select relevant bill number.

(d) The bill status page contains a short bill description and a list of sponsors from each chamber. Following are summaries of the proposed bill, any adopted amendments, and impact notes. (A legislator can request an impact note if the bill affects one or more enumerated state functions.) The ILCS sections affected by the proposed bill and each amendment are listed. For text of the amendment(s), click the amendment number. If the Governor vetoed the bill, a summary of the veto is available.

The Bill Status includes a chronological listing of all legislative action in both chambers called Actions. This information is very important in compiling a legislative history. Knowing the dates of legislative action determines the dates of potential debate on the bill in the Senate and House, and if the Governor vetoed any portion of the bill.

Floor debate often occurs during the following actions. Print out the bill status or note the dates for the following actions

  • second and third readings – debate does not occur on the first reading
  • recalls to readings
  • concurrence (non-concurrence)
  • any conference committees
  • any day debate is mentioned (except for committee debates)
  • response(s) to Governor’s veto

After selecting dates from the bill status, return to the main ILGA page and select Transcripts for the House and Senate. From the pull down menu on the Transcript page, highlight the dates selected under Actions. Debates are searchable and in PDF format. To search for the bill number on each day of debate, click the "binoculars" icon on the PDF toolbar and enter the numeric portion of the bill. (For example, for H.B. 100, enter 100.)

An option is available to search the House or Senate transcripts for an entire General Assembly. This option does not return results in chronological order. Also, without knowing the specific dates, it is more difficult to confirm that all relevant dates are retrieved. The online availability of transcripts is occasionally delayed. The transcript search function cannot search missing transcripts potentially resulting in incomplete legislative histories. It is recommended to search for a bill number on selected dates rather than relying on the general search option.

B. Legislative Histories for Previous General Assemblies

1. After determining the relevant public act(s) for your research, select the link for Previous General Assemblies from the lower right of the ILGA website. Select the appropriate General Assembly from the pull-down menu. For each General Assembly, a Public Act conversion table is available for converting the act to its corresponding bill number. [Note: For the 94th G.A., consult the "Public Acts by Effective Date" link to obtain the bill number.]

2. Select the Transcripts, then Listing for the House and the Senate. On each Transcripts page, (see next paragraph for exceptions) find a link for the Master Index. The Master Index is arranged by bill number and provides the dates, legislative action and page numbers for each bill. The Master Index for the House includes House and Senate bill; the Master Index for the Senate includes both Senate and House bills. Scroll through the Master Index to find your bill number. (Bills are arranged in numeric order.)

[Exceptions: The Senate provides an online Master Index up to the 94th G.A. (2005- 2006). At present, the House does not provide an online Master Index after the 89th G.A. (1995-1996). To find debates for G.A. without Master Index, the researcher must run a bill status (see A.2. above), or use the search function on the Transcripts page to identify the dates for debate on the bill.]

3. After consulting the Master Index, return to the Transcripts Page and use the pull down menu to find the dates listed in the Master Index.

Debates are in PDF format. Scroll forward to the specific pages identified in the Master Index. When using the bill status to identify dates for debate, click the "binoculars" icon and search for the bill number on each day of debate by entering the numeric portion of the bill. On each page where the bill is mentioned, continue to read until another bill is brought to the floor.

4. Legislative history research may require the use of legislative resources that are not available electronically. Often, floor debates yield little or no relevant debate. During the legislative process, proposed statutory language can be moved between bills in the same General Assembly. Also, the same language can be proposed and discussed in an earlier General Assembly. When the same or similar language is found in another bill, a legislative history must be compiled for that bill.

To identify other bills with the same or similar language, use the Statutes Amended index in the annual Legislative Synopsis and Digest. The Legislative Reference Bureau provides an electronic version for the 93rd (2003) through the present. For other years, consult the print edition of the Legislative Synopsis and Digest available in many law libraries.

Always consult a law librarian if you have any questions or require assistance locating and using legislative resources.

Legislative Support Agencies

Includes links to the following agencies:

  • Legislative Reference Bureau - Includes Illinois Bill Drafting Manual, Uniform State Laws Reports, Legislative Synopsis and Digest Indices, Annual Case Reports (reported federal and state court decisions that affect the interpretation of the Illinois Constitution or statutes), ILCS to IRS cross-reference. IRS to ILCS cross-reference.
  • First Reading - A newsletter for Illinois legislators, containing biographies of new legislators and summaries of important legislation. Also contains abstracts of reports filed with the General Assembly. Starts with Volume 14, No. 3 (June 2000).

 

Other Illinois Legislative History Guides

  • Researching Legislative History - Document providing an overview of legislative history research, including how to obtain documents. Maintained by the ILGA Legislative Reference Bureau.

 

IV. JUDICIAL RESOURCES

Annual Reports of the Illinois Courts 

  • Includes the Administrative and Statistical Summaries. Reports available for 2001 forward.

 

Specific Courts

Illinois Supreme Court

  • Opinions - See archive for cases filed since May 23, 1996. Also includes Workers' Compensation (2005 to present) Industrial Commission (1996 thru 2004). Subscribe for email notification of newly released court opinions.

Illinois Appellate Court

Cook County Circuit Court

Illinois Court of Claims

 

Court Rules

 

Jury Instructions

 

Judicial Ethics and Codes of Conduct

Judicial Inquiry Board (JIB) and Courts Commission 

Illinois Judges Association Judicial Ethics Committee

Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission 

  • Use Lawyer Search to search for lawyers licensed to practice law in Illinois.
  • Rules and Decisions has disciplinary reports and decisions starting in 1909 and the Rules of Professional Conduct, Code of Judicial Conduct, and other rules governing the legal profession and judiciary.
  • New Filings has recently filed complaints from Sept. 2001 to present.
  • Publications include the Client Trust Account Handbook and Lawyer Admission and Regulation in Illinois.

 

V. EXECUTIVE BRANCH & STATE AGENCIES

Office of the Governor

Illinois Administrative Code

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), a legislative oversight committee, provides an electronic version of the Illinois Administrative Code.

Illinois Register

Available from August 16, 2002 to the present. The only official source for the Illinois Register is print.

Administrative Code and Codification Indexes

Provides the Comparison Index: Illinois Administrative Code to Statutory Authority, the Illinois Register - Cumulative Index, Agency Index, Publication Schedule, and Sections Affected Index, and the Codification Index.

AGENCIES

Complete listing of all State Agencies is available via the official website for the State of Illinois. The State of Illinois has recently worked to standardize the appearance and arrangement of the agency web sites. The text of laws, rules, and forms, if not specifically highlighted in this guide, can often be found under the various topical headings at each site.

  • Department of Agriculture - Laws and regulations arranged by topic. Additional information about agricultural industry regulation, forms and applications.
  • Department of Children and Family Services - Resources to help prevent child abuse and neglect, resources on adoption, foster care, grandparents raising children, and information on being a foster or adoptive parent.
  • Comptroller - See Open Book for searchable database of state contracts and campaign contributions.
  • Court of Claims - Text of decisions Vols. 1-65 and index for Vols. 38-58. Provides rules and statutes and information on how to file claims.
  • Gaming Board - Text of rules and Riverboat Gambling Act and video gaming.
  • Department of Human Rights - Text of the act and rules. Information on filing a charge of discrimination under Illinois Human Rights Act.
  • Department of Human Services - Scroll down and select "Rules and Policy" for administrative rules and the Cash, Food Stamp and Medical Manual.
  • Department of Labor - Text of statutes, forms and rates. Information arranged by division. Also includes information on the minimum wage in Illinois.
  • Labor Relations Board - Acts, rules, forms, annual reports, and a list of recent decisions. Interest arbitration awards, and a list of members of the Board's mediation/arbitration roster.
  • Pollution Control Board - Rules and statutes. Select "E-Library" for searchable opinions and orders 1990 to date, and case hearing transcripts 1993 to date.
  • Property Tax Appeal Board - Forms, information on practice before the Board, synopsis of representative cases. Information on filing the appeal under "Practice and Procedure" link.
  • State Board of Elections - Searchable current campaign financial information, downloadable forms and documents. Searchable candidate filing information, election totals, and downloadable publications including Candidate's Guide 2016.
  • State Treasurer - Information on programs and services, tips on personal finance, news and publications. ICash search by name for unclaimed property. Info on Bright Start College Savings.

 

VI. JOURNALS AND SECONDARY SOURCES

 

The web sites listed in this guide are for information only and are not endorsed or supported by the Cook County Law Library. Please independently verify the accuracy and currency of all information. Consult an attorney for legal advice. 

 

Compiled by Jean Wenger, Deputy Law Librarian

Revised September 2017 by David Sanborne