The Legislative Reference Service (LRS) is a state agency that performs multiple tasks, including drafting legislation and performing research for members of the Alabama Legislature and for the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The agency was created in 1945 and is located in the Legislative Department.
The agency drafts bills, constitutional amendments; single and joint house resolutions; resolutions of commendation, congratulation, and condolence; and amendments to bills, as well as substitutes to bills and resolutions. Each general bill or constitutional amendment is accompanied by a synopsis of the bill prepared by LRS that consists of an LRS opinion on the status of existing law and how the general bill or constitutional amendment would change the law. The agency also conducts legal research on laws in Alabama, other states, and federal statutes and prepares written and oral legal opinions on various matters. It also performs substantive policy research on issues and provides alternatives for legislative action. All work performed by LRS, including the fact that work is being done, is confidential and may be released only with the permission of the member who authorized the work. In addition, whenever the Senate or the House of Representatives is in session, an LRS attorney is available to prepare amendments, provide legal advice, and facilitate the flow of work.
Each year, after a legislative session, LRS places the acts of the Legislature into the Code of Alabama 1975. A publisher issues an annual supplement to the Alabama code, which consists of additions to existing code volumes and a certain number of new replacement volumes. The agency also publishes a paperback version of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, a local laws index that is updated annually, and an annual summary of the general laws enacted in each legislative session.
LRS also is the filing office for administrative rules of state agencies. In that capacity, it receives changes in various requirements or procedures proposed by state administrative agencies, such as the Department of Revenue. LRS publishes the Alabama Administrative Monthly, which documents notices of administrative rules that are initially being proposed and have been finally adopted. After the administrative agency has complied with the statutory requirements for the adoption of an administrative rule, it must file the adopted rule with LRS, which publishes final adopted rules in the Alabama Administrative Code. The staff of LRS also assists the Legislative Council to determine whether to approve rules or suggest an amendment.
The LRS is provided for in Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 29-7-1) of Title 29 of the Code of Alabama 1975. The office consists of approximately 30 individuals, about a third of whom are attorneys-at-law and the rest of whom are paralegals and support staff. The annual budget of LRS is about $3 million. The office is located on the sixth floor of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Montgomery County.