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National Survey of State Laws

The 8th edition of the must-have guide for state-by-state law comparison, available in both database and print format. 

About National Survey of State Laws

National Survey of State Laws (NSSL) is a print and online resource that provides an overall view of some of the most-asked-about and controversial legal topics in the United States. The database is derived from Richard Leiter’s National Survey of State Laws print editions. Presented in an interactive chart format, NSSL allows users to make basic state-by-state comparisons of current state laws. The database is updated regularly as new laws are passed or updated.

The current 8th edition, along with the 7th, 6th, and 5th editions are available in HeinOnline’s image-based, fully searchable, user-friendly database format. Users can use the database to compare the same laws as they existed in 2005, 2008, 2015, and 2018, and to make more current comparisons with laws added or updated in the database since 2018. 

National Survey of State Laws Book Cover

Chapters New to the 8th Edition

The latest edition of National Survey of State Laws has seen the addition of a number of new chapters, supplementary to the 50+ chapters that already existed. Existing chapters are updated and new chapters are added regularly to this edition. 

The number of breweries in the United States is increasing at a rapid rate, with 6,400 operating by the end of 2019. This chapter reflects the rights and responsibilities of brewers and other beer manufacturers. Unless necessary for clarity, it does not mention other business entities that sell beer, such as non-brewpub restaurants or grocery stores. 

Bullying has been the topic of many news segments and the subject of many community discussions. Because many of the high profile incidences of bullying have been tragic, many legislators feel compelled to enact laws to prohibit such behavior and punish the wrongdoers. This chapter provides an overview of the laws that have been passed so far. 

Modern child support orders, at their essence, provide for the care of children. However, the codification of guidelines is by no means uniform. This state survey attempts to provide an overview of core commonalities and a flavor for noteworthy nuances.

Acts of shoplifting cost retailers billions of dollars each year. In an effort to reduce the frequency and economic impact of this type of theft, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted civil shoplifting statutes. This chapter provides an overview of the state-by-state differences in civil shoplifting law. 

Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, it has become clear to states that one of the leading causes of domestic violence is the laissez-faire response by law enforcement officials. In response, some states have enacted mandatory arrest statutes requiring law enforcement officers to arrest an individual after a report of domestic violence. In addition, some have enacted mandatory reporting statutes for health professionals. See the state-by-state differences in this chapter.

The “slow foods” movement has been sweeping the civilized world for more than a decade. As consumer interest in foods has grown, there has been concern over the different ways that “natural” foods are raised, processed for sale, and distributed. These concerns have translated into state regulations that can differ from state to state. 

Every state has specific limits on the amount of interest that may be charged on consumer contracts. Many states, however, allow any interest rate to be charged if all parties to a contract agree to it in writing. There are myriad exceptions, and because the laws are constantly changing, this chapter seeks to provide a foundational understanding of state interest rate laws.

Federal, state, and local governments are responsible for protecting and safeguarding the public health and welfare. This chapter treats all state statutes that could be found concerning privacy and medical records, specifically. This emerging field is increasingly subject to revision and new legislative attention, so this chapter will be frequently updated.

There are many times when a business may wish to share information about a new product or service with people outside the business entity in order to obtain feedback or publicity, or the business may be concerned about employees sharing information about new products or services with people outside the business. Controversy arises regarding non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and non-compete agreements (NCAs). The characteristics of these agreements can vary among states. 

One of the largest variances within states regarding seat belt laws is whether the law is a primary or secondary enforcement law. Some states have more of a hybrid enforcement scheme that allow primary enforcement for the front seat, but secondary for the back. This 50-state-survey explores the differences between states for seat belt laws, including child restraint system laws. 

The medical community has shared a questionable history with unclaimed bodies. Driven by a constant need for bodies for use in medical research and advancement, medical centers and universities historically have accepted the unclaimed bodies of marginalized people—including non-white, poor, mentally disabled, elderly, non-heterosexual, and incarcerated peoples. Because there is no uniform system in place in the United States to deal with unclaimed remains, each state has adopted its own protocol.

In the United States, the right to vote is viewed as essential to the fabric of our nation. Still, there are those who labor to disenfranchise, and much of that happens at the state level, where the mechanics of voting are centered. In time for the 2020 presidential election, this chapter focuses on the state-by-state differences in voting laws, and particularly the volatile area of absentee voting.

Database Tools and Features

Interactive Comparison Chart

Select a category or chapter topic to pull up that portion of the interactive NSSL chart. Quickly compare laws by selecting the State Filter option. Learn more.

Fully Searchable Text

Search the full text of the database by keyword, topic, code section, state, or edition to pull up relevant charts.

Linking to Subject Compilations of State Laws

Instantaneously access thousands of bibliographic records in a related work, Subject Compilations of State Laws.

Subject compilations of state laws linking in NSSL

About the Author

Richard Leiter is the Director of the Schmid Law Library and Professor of Law at Nebraska College of Law. He got his start in law libraries in 1977 at Irell & Manella, a prominent Los Angeles law firm. After graduating from Southwestern University Law School in 1981, he moved to Texas where he worked at the University of Texas Tarlton Law Library and earned his Masters in Library and Information Science in 1985. Over time, he became the head of public services at the University of Nebraska, managed the library at Littler Mendelson  Fastiff & Tichy in San Francisco, and managed academic law libraries at Regent University and Howard University before returning to Lincoln in 2000. Professor Leiter has written widely on law library, legal research, and legal information technology issues. He is an active scholar and has contributed to books, the Law Library Journal, and numerous other law library publications.

Rich Leiter, editor of National Survey of State Laws

Pricing Information


This includes the print edition of the book and access to the online database with regular updates. Access will last until the next edition is published (approximately 36 months). Note: Shipment of the book can be held until the purchasing organization reopens.

  • 1 Print Copy & Online Access for 1 Location $240.00
  • 1 Print Copy & Online Access for Multiple Locations $310.00
  • Additional Print Copies $95.00

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