Monday, October 24, 2016

Did Someone Say “Report”?

The word “report” shows up everywhere in state government, but it might not always mean what you think it means.  In fact, the word has many different meanings, which can be really confusing to researchers.  Here’s a helpful guide we hope will provide some clarification for this multi-faceted word.

Report (published):  Reports that are published (or commissioned) by state and federal agencies, by governor’s commissions, legislative committees, etc.  Examples include annual reports, progress reports, research reports on specific topics of interest, investigative reports, and studies.

Report (special legislative):  These are reports authored by special legislative committees and commissions that are established for the purpose of investigating and studying a particular issue, and then filing a report by a set deadline.  A large portion of these reports are filed with the bills as part of the legislative documents series.  For more information, see also: Special Reports Authorized by the General Court

Report (media):  Journalistic pieces based on the author’s own investigations or research are also often referred to as “reports” (examples: “investigative report”, “special report”).  These types of reports serve as secondary resources, and sometimes are themselves about the state government or legislature (so don’t get them confused!)

Report (committee):  All bills have to be reported out of the legislative committees to which they were assigned.  A committee report is simply the committee’s recommendation that a particular bill “ought to pass” (favorable report), “ought not to pass” (adverse report), or be given a study order (which is never a good sign).  Committees can also file a “discharge report” if it believes that a certain bill subject is out of its jurisdiction.

Report (conference committee):  When a bill is particularly contentious and neither the House nor the Senate can agree on the language of the bill, it will then go to Conference Committee where three members of each branch meet to some to a resolution.  The report issued by the Committee is their agreed upon version of the bill, which must be voted on and may not be amended.

Are you looking for a particular report?  Search the library’s online catalog or browse our online DSpace digital repository.  You can also email or call the library for further assistance.

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department