The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws has been involved in legislative reform activity since 1892. Three hundred practicing lawyers, judges, scholars, and government officials serve as commissioners at present. The Conference publishes UNIFORM acts, codes, and court rules, as well as MODEL acts. Legislatures are urged to adopt "uniform" acts exactly as written to promote uniformity in law among the several states. "Model" acts, in comparison, are intended to serve as guideline legislation which states can borrow from or adapt to suit their respective situations.
Single copies of individual uniform laws or drafts may be obtained by contacting the headquarters office:
Two important web sites are the home page of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws <www.nccusl.org> and the Drafts, Final Acts and Archive pages maintained in cooperation with the Biddle Law Library at the University of Pennsylvania <www.law.upenn.edu/bll/ulc/ulc_frame.htm>. The home page contains organizational information and current information on selected uniform acts (press releases, legislative and enactment information). Both the Drafts and Final Acts pages have alphabetical indexes to the various uniform acts. A complete finding aid to the NCCUSL Archives is expected to be added to the university web site in late October 1999. The Conference is to be commended for its utilization of the Internet in making its archives, working papers, drafts and final publications so readily available.
Richard C. Hite (Class of '53) served as President of the National Conference from 1993-95 and continues to serve as a Commissioner from Kansas as he has done since 1975. Elwaine Pomeroy (Class of '57) has been serving as a Commissioner since 1979. Washburn Dean James M. Concannon, appointed in 1998, is the third appointee representing Kansas.
The Law Library has three major and several other research resources relating to the work of the National Conference. Brief descriptions follow:
1. UNIFORM LAWS ANNOTATED (ULA) - MASTER EDITION Location: Res KF 165.A5
Kept on reserve, this set contains more than 160 uniform laws. For most laws, the following elements will be provided:
For each section of a uniform law, these elements are usually provided:
An annual pamphlet comprising part of ULA Master Edition contains these helpful research aids:
ULA is also a database on Westlaw. For a database description, enter the scope command, "sc ula", while in the Westlaw directory. Consult the most recent Lexis-Nexis Directory of Online Services (alphabetical listing) for the library and file of a specific uniform act.
2. HANDBOOK OF THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COMMISSIONERS ON
The library has the annual Handbook and Proceedings from 1892 to date (1991 published in 1999). The Handbook contains a wealth of material. The 1991 Handbook, for instance, lists the following among its contents:
The Appendix contains these selected items:
The Handbook contains a series of Tables in the Appendix that may be of assistance to researchers:
3. ARCHIVE PUBLICATIONS - microfiche cabinet in Microforms Room (KF 165.A23)
One of the special holdings in the library's collection is a set of over a thousand fiche containing all available transcripts of the Proceedings of each annual meeting, as well as the transcript of the discussions in the Committee of the Whole of each Uniform and Model Act. Also included are the "successive drafts" of each act.
A hard copy index to the collection (made available by Wm. S. Hein Co.) is kept on top of the microfiche cabinet containing KF 165.A23. Individual uniform acts are separately cataloged and appear in ATLAS, Washburn's online catalog. You may search by title of the act, by subject, or by the Hein index number. All titles in the series may be retrieved by a title search for "Proceedings of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws". For assistance in using the collection, contact a Reference Librarian.
In addition to the three major resources just described, the law library has other sources that can facilitate research work involving uniform laws. The following table is a quick reference checklist:
A Century of Service: A Centennial History of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, by Walter P. Armstrong, Jr., is housed in the collection at KF 165 .A867 1991. Two other histories include: Coulson, "The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the Control of Law-Making--a Historical Essay," 16 Oklahoma City Law Review 295-344 (Sum 1991) and Dunham, "A History of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws," 30 Law & Contemporary Problems 233 (1965).
The Kansas experience with the National Conference and its Uniform Laws is described by long-time Commissioner Paul L. Wilbert in two articles: "To Have or Have Not: The Kansas Experience with the Uniform State Laws," 6 U. Kan. L. Rev. 388 (1958) and "Uniform State Laws: An Instrument for Preserving State Integrity and Sovereignty," 49 J. Kan. B.A. 341 (1980).