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Circuit Riders: Legal Research Training for Non-Lawyers

Former Versions & Enactment

Sometimes it is necessary to track the history of a South Carolina law to compare the language of its various versions over the years. For instance, you may wish to compare the language of the Payment of Wages statute (§ 41-10-50) when it was originally enacted in 1986 to the language of the statute after it was amended in 1990.

 

 

 

 

 

The current South Carolina Code Annotated (officially called the Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976) was first published in 1976 and has since been revised by replacing individual volumes and designating the revision date on the spine of each volume. New laws and amendments to existing laws are published in pocketparts inserted in the back of each volume or supplements shelved next to that volume until a new hardbound volume is published.

Many current South Carolina laws, however, are much older and have been published in earlier versions of the South Carolina Code. The General Statutes (G.S.) and the Revised Statutes (R.S.) are the earliest versions of the South Carolina Code. The Code of Laws of South Carolina has since been published every ten years, beginning in 1902, followed by the 1912, 1922, 1932, 1942, 1952, and 1962 versions.

The history line for an older South Carolina statute begins with references to the location of that statute in earlier versions of the code, in reverse chronological order. These references to previous versions of the code are followed by the Act that enacted that particular statute and the Acts that have amended it, in chronological order. For example, examining the history line for the current South Carolina manslaughter statute below, you find that a version of that statute was published in the 1952 and 1962 Codes as §16-55  and in earlier SC Codes as various sections through 1902.

Listed after the references to the manslaughter statute in the earliest versions of the South Carolina Code (General Statutes (G.S) and Revised Statutes (R.S.)), you find the original enactment of the manslaughter statute in 1869: (1869 (14) 175).

Amendments

Following the 1869 Act that enacted the manslaughter statute above, the statutory history line provides references to the 1931, 1934, and 1993 SC Acts that have amended its original 1869 language.

 

For newer statutes, the South Carolina Code Annotated includes explanations after the statute of the effect of any amendments. For example, the Effect of Amendment notation after the SC Payment of Wages statute below tells the researcher that the 1990 amendment to § 41-10-50 deleted certain language from the statute and substituted the word “When” for “Whenever.”

 

S.C. Statutory History Line De-Constructed