What is a Session Law?
Each bill that becomes law is given a chapter number based on the chronological order in which it was adopted. These chapters are called Session Laws and are compiled on an annual basis. This site provides an unofficial version of the Session Laws from 1997 to the present and is updated regularly. Earlier session laws — from 1692 to 1959 and from 1960 to 1996 — are available on the State Library's website. The official publication of the Session Laws for a given year is entitled the Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, and is published annually by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The vast majority of Session Laws are Acts. Acts include everything from our annual state budget (the General Appropriation Act) and major legislative initiatives to reorganize government agencies. Session Laws that are not codified into the General Laws are called Special Acts and include matters affecting an individual or a particular city or town. A Resolve is most often used when the legislation's only purpose is to establish a special commission to investigate a certain issue.
Acts and Resolves, also known as Session Laws, are periodically posted. This site includes all Session Laws adopted as of March 1, 2017.