Acts and Resolves
The General Assembly passes legislation each session in the form of acts and resolutions. Sometimes referred to as session laws, legislative acts are then usually (but not always) codified as statutes. By researching the specific acts related to a section of statute, researchers can learn when particular language in the statute was created or changed.
In addition to acts, the legislature may also pass resolutions. Resolution may be passed by either the House, the Senate or jointly. They often are enacted to carry out a legislative procedure, to honor an individual or organization, or to express an opinion on policy. Resolutions are not codified in statute.
Various versions of the acts and resolves are available:
- Vermont State Legislature Legislative Research Page: The acts and resolves from 1993 to the present can be read online.
- Published Acts and Resolves (1778-Present): Hard-copy compilations of the acts and resolves are published each biennium. Copies of these versions can be found in local libraries, town offices, the State Library, and our Reference Room. Digital versions of the published acts from 1808 to 1921 can be found online.
- Original Acts and Resolves, 1800-Present: The original versions of the acts and resolves are maintained by the State Archives. They frequently include amendments to the act as it moved through each house of the legislature.
In addition to providing information about the law as it was passed, the acts and resolves also include bill numbers. Act numbers are not assigned until after legislation is approved by the governor. During passage, legislation instead is identified by its bill number: “H.” if it was a bill introduced in the House, or “S.” if it was introduced in the Senate. Bill numbers are a key piece of information for tracing legislation through the legislative journals and committee records.
The State Archives maintains all of the bills that were enacted into law. The State Library has copies of bills that failed to win passage.