National Survey of State Laws

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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. This database is derived from Richard Leiter’s National Survey of State Laws print editions. Presented in chart format, NSSL allows users to make basic state-by-state comparisons of current state laws. The database is updated regularly as laws are passed or amended.

The current 8th edition, along with the 7th, 6th and 5th editions, is included in database format, which allows users 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. All print editions are included in HeinOnline’ s image-based, fully searchable, user-friendly platform.


  • Interest rates
  • Seat belt laws
  • Restrictive covenants in employment
  • Child support guidelines
  • Domestic violence
  • Bullying
  • Civil shoplifting
  • Food laws
  • Medical records

From the database homepage, users can browse laws by category or topic. The topics featured in NSSL fall into eight general legal categories: Business and Consumer Laws; Criminal Laws; Education Laws; Employment Laws; Family Laws; General Civil Laws; Real Estate Laws; and Tax Laws. Select any category to view a list of topics.

Select the More Information icon next to any topic to see a general overview of the law..

Select a topic to view an interactive chart for the specified law. For example, let’s open the topic of Adoption.

The top column includes important points for each law. Beneath, brief statements provide the core points for each state’s statute. References to state statutes and code sections are provided, helping researchers further their research.

From this chart, users can compare this law across specific states. For example, let’s compare Arizona and Arkansas. Check the boxes next to each state and select Show only checked states.

This provides a new chart showing only the two selected states.

Users can also view the law as it appeared in previous version of this title by selecting View previous editions.

View and link to related Subject Compilations of State Laws Subjects, an award-winning resource that identifies and describes fifty-state law surveys on hundreds of subjects in hundreds of sources.

NOTE: The Subject Compilations of State Laws (SCSL) hyperlinks are only accessible to customers that also subscribe to the SCSL database.

For more information on how to browse and search within National Survey of State Laws, check out our dedicated LibGuide.

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