Search and Compare State Laws with Hein Online's National Survey of State Laws

UPDATE: Hein Online was kind enough to email me after this article was posted. The National Survey of State Laws will be updated quarterly, and some of the topics that users can look for are Interest Rates, Medical Records and Marijuana Laws. If you have an idea for a potential topic to include in NSSL, feel free to email

Hein Online is without question a law librarian favorite, and with good reason. The database is a one-stop shop for a wide range of materials, from law reviews to treaties. Now the Law Library has subscribed to a new Hein Online tool that should receive many more accolades.

The National Survey of State Laws (NSSL) fills in a critical information gap. With only a few keystrokes, users can compare controversial state laws from all 50 states, or search back in time to see how the language has changed since 2004. Below is what NSSL looks like comparing state laws about child abuse:

I really appreciate how the table is laid out in a simple and intuitive way. You can choose which states you are comparing, save the chart as  PDF, and of course do a full-text search within the NSSL collection.

Below are just a few of the topics and subjects that can be searched with NSSL:

The only real qualm I have with the database is that I wish it had more topics built into the survey. NSSL hits all of the controversial ones, but there are plenty of other topics and laws that would be useful as scholars compare them. However, that is a minor complaint for a tool that provides a quick and easy way to compare important statutes quickly. Try it out yourself, and let us know if you have any questions!

Submitted by Kristopher Turner on February 10, 2016

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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