Answered By: Lewis Zimmerman
Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016     Views: 30

Researching the history of a section in the Oregon Revised Statutes starts with identifying the session laws that enacted, amended or repealed the section. This is usually accomplished by looking to the annotations that accompany the section. For ORS 163.160 "Assault in the Fourth Degree" the annotation reads thus:

Laws 1977, c. 297, § 5; Laws 1997, c. 694, § 1; Laws 1999, c. 1073, § 1; Laws 2009, c. 785, § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.

Each entry in the annotation is separated by a semicolon (;). This means that session laws in 1977, 1997, 1999 and 2009 were passed that dealt with this statutory provision. (Remember that since the ORS only dates back to 1953 in order to find any legislative history prior to 1953 you would need to consult the 1953 revisers' notes.) You can find the "Oregon Laws" since 1999 on the legislature's web page. For earlier volumes you can consult the paper volumes in our collection at SOLL.

In the session law volumes, known in Oregon as the "Oregon Laws" , you will find the text of the bill that amended the ORS section. Each chapter of the Oregon Laws refers to a separate enacted bill. Each bill might amend a number of statutory sections.  The Oregon Laws chapter may therefore divided into two or more sections. The number after the '§' symbol indicates which Oregon Laws section amended the ORS section.

In our example lets look at the next to last entry in the above annotation. 

Laws 1999, c. 1073, § 1

We will look in the 1999 volume of the "Oregon Laws". Then we turn to chapter 1073 of that volume. We finally locate section 1 in that chapter. In that chapter you will see the changes made to ORS 163.160. Additions to the statute are in bold and deletions are italicized. 

It is also possible to review ORS editions from those periods to see how the statute changed.  You can view the current 2013 statute here:

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/Pages/ORS.aspx

You should be aware that there may have been changes to the statute in the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions. You should check the statutes affected tables on the page above and the OLIS system. You can see older archived here:

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/Pages/ORSarchive.aspx

You can view the view the statutes from 1953 to 1993 here:

https://archives.oregonlegislature.gov/Pages/ORS-Archives.aspx

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