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State and Local Government Law Research Guide: Internet Resources

This Research Guide is designed to assist students conduct research in the Public Law & Public Policy Seminar, 2014.

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.

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 USA.gov 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.

Maplight.org is a "mash-up" of information on California and federal bills, combining the official bill text and the votes of legislators with data from FollowtheMoney.org. 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.

Stateline.org 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.

StateMaster.com 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.