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National Survey of State Laws

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 new 9th edition, along with the 8th, 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, 2019, and 2022, and to make more current comparisons with laws added or updated in the database since the publishing of the most recent print edition.

Chapters New to the 9th Edition

The new edition of National Survey of State Laws includes addition of a number of new chapters including: 

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. 

The question of privacy has long been a cornerstone of the American constitutional and democratic experiment. The matter of individual privacy has been intricately entangled with the right of individuals to freedom of conscience and speech, within limits. The question of the right of privacy and, specifically, who should have access to library records has divided libraries and their patrons. There are strong arguments on both sides.

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.

All Other Chapters Available

The National Survey of State Laws database include 50+ chapters. Existing chapters are updated regularly.

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

Using National Survey of State Laws

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