Minnesota Statutes

The Minnesota Statutes is a compilation of current state law. The Statutes are recompiled and issued in even numbered years by the Revisor of Statutes. Each new compilation is a different color. The 1988 edition is green. Since the Statutes contain only current law in force, it is not necessary to consult previous editions of the Statutes.

Statutes are Session Laws rearranged by subject with only those laws still in force included. Session Laws are compilations of laws in chronological order as they are passed. As each session of the Legislature convenes and then adjourns, laws are passed. These laws are then compiled chronologically for each legislative session and published under the title LAWS OF MINNESOTA 19xx.

The Statutes are supplemented by annual updates. These are in the form of "pocket parts" for most volumes, but for some volumes there is a separate paperbound supplement.

Minnesota Statutes are arranged by chapter numbers that are further divided by a decimal system into sections and then into numbered subdivisions that may further be divided alphabetically. Since chapter numbers, sections, subdivisions, etc., are unique to a particular law, finding laws by number is quite easy. These numbers are much like a library classification system such as LC or DDC. In other words all Statutes with the number 260 deal with juveniles.

Note that some patrons may refer to "chapter" by using the word "section" and vice-versa.

At the beginning of each volume is a section called "Analytical Table of Chapters" which is an outline of the entire set of statutes.

At the beginning of each chapter, there is an analysis of that chapter. It is much like a "table of contents" for that particular chapter.

The first volume contains a preface which discusses the historical publication of the statutes as well as a User's Guide.

The first volume also contains certain historical documents such as the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; United States Constitution; Minnesota Constitution; University Charter, etc.

There is also a volume with various Court Rules, such as district court, municipal court, juvenile court; Rules of Procedure; Rules of Evidence; and Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys and Judges.

Note that this volume is NOT Indexed with the rest of the statutes. Each section of the Court Rules volume Is thumb indexed and further each section has its own index.

There are references at the end of each statutory section citing the history of the particular statute. These references are to a particular year and chapter of the Sessions Laws.

The Tables and Index volume has various cross reference tables as well as an organizational chart of state government. There is a comprehensive and detailed index. A user can find a Statute in two ways. Either by subject or number.

Finding a Statute by number. Since each Statute is individually numbered and that number is a unique number, finding a Statute by Its number is fairly easy. Most Minnesota Statute citations will appear as a decimal. For example, Chapter 260 deals with the topic of "juveniles." The Statutes are decimally divided. For example 260.221 deals with the termination of parental rights of juveniles. Some Statutes have a letter Inserted in them 256B. 495. This is not unusual in Minnesota Statutes. Be sure to check the "pocket part" or any other supplement under the Statute number for any changes that may have occurred.

Finding a Statute by subject. The Statutes have a comprehensive and detailed index. You will need to start with the most specific terminology first and if you are unsuccessful broaden your terms. Index entries refer directly to Statute numbers.

All law libraries and many public and academic libraries will have a copy of the Statutes.

The Statutes are on the web at http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/statutes.asp.

Complete the Minnesota Statutes Practice Questions.

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This page was last updated on November 17, 2003.