J.W. Long Law Library


Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)

How do you search the Oregon Revised Statutes? 

Using the ORS is straightforward - or is it?  Keep the following in mind when using the ORS:

1. Annotations

Post-1971- Annotations to ORS sections are grouped together in Volume 21, rather than following each section.

Pre-1971 - These annotations are found in the separate two volume 1971 Permanent edition under the relevant title and section number.

2. Constitutions

Federal - The Federal Constitution and its index are found at the end of Volume 17.

Oregon - The Oregon State Constitution and its index are found at the end of Volume 17.  The General Index found in Volumes 18 and 19 duplicate some, but not all, of the index terms found in the index to the Constitution.

3. Indices

General Index - The General Index is organized from the general to the specific using cross-referencing to synonymous and multiple terms.  Cross-references are also provided from subcategories to the larger inclusive topic, but there are omissions.  For example, Chapter 131A is entitled Civil Forfeiture.  You will find "Civil forfeiture, criminal activities" in the Quick Search Index, but you will find neither "Civil Forfeiture" nor "Forfeiture; Civil" as main entries in the general index, or for that matter, under Words and Phrases.  However, you will find "Forfeitures, civil forfeiture, criminal activities," in the General Index.

Quick Search Index - This index precedes the General Index in Volume 18.  It is a brief index that includes laws by popular names, titles of laws and uniform laws.  For example, the "Determination of Death Act" can be found here, but is not indexed by name in the General Index.

Words and Phrases - Terms defined in the ORS, but not necessarily found as a heading or subheading in the General Index, may be listed under the General Index term "Words and Phrases".  Approximately 9,000 terms are listed alphabetically under the term "Words and Phrases".

4. Legislation

Effective Date - Oregon Constitution, Article 4, Section 28, provides that "no act shall take effect, until 90 days from the end of the session at which the same shall have been passed, except in the case of an emergency; which emergency shall be declared in the preamble, or in the body of the law."  The adjournment and subsequent effective date of laws passed in the most recent session is noted on the title page of ORS Volume 1.

Referred Measures -  Enacted measures (session laws) referred by the Legislature to the electorate and which are subsequently rejected are not compiled as part of the ORS.  This fact will be noted in the comparative section tables.

Sources - The enactment date and subsequent amendment dates for laws enacted after 1953 are in the ORS following the section.  However, for laws enacted prior to 1953, the dates have been omitted from the current ORS and you must use the two volume set referred to as the Legislative History, Reviser's Notes and Annotations; commonly referred to as the 1953 "Reviser's Notes".

5. Prior Codes

Abbreviations of Oregon Codes prior to 1953 are found in the preface to Volume 1 of the Reviser's Notes.

6.  Rules

Appellate procedure - These rules supplement the statutory requirements for appeals and judicial review contained in the ORS and are not reprinted therein.

Civil procedure - the ORCP appear in Volume 1 following Chapter 10.  It is not a separate numbered chapter within the ORS, although it is indexed in the General Index under Rules of Civil Procedure.  (The ORCP are promulgated by the Counsel on Court Procedures; see ORS 1.745)

Evidence - The Rules of Evidence, known as the Evidence Code, are codified as Chapter 40 of the ORS  (the Rules of Evidence are enacted by the Legislature).  They are indexed under evidence in the General Index.

7. Sections

Renumbered - The legislative history of a renumbered ORS Section for the period before the renumbering of the section is found under the original ORS section number.

Repealed with Enactments in Lieu - Where a new section has been enacted in lieu of a repealed section, that information will be contained in a parenthetical addition.

8. Tables

Comparative - Volume 20 provides cites to the 1953 ORS corresponding from the Oregon Compiled Laws Annotated (OCLA).

Session Laws - Also provided in Volume 20 are cites to the ORS corresponding from session laws beginning in 1941.

Sections Renumbered - In the back of Volume 20, Sections Renumbered in the most recent legislative session are related to the former section numbers.

Senate and House Bills Enacted - In the back of Volume 20 Senate and House Bills enacted in the most recent legislative session are listed.

Titles - A Table of Titles follows the preface in ORS Volume 1.

NOTE: The ORS may be searched online at http://www.leg.state.or.us/bills_laws/home.htm.    Law students may also search the ORS online using either Westlaw or Lexis.