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Health Policy Decision Tree: Search Connecticut State Statutes

1. Print this page. You will be leaving the Health Advocacy Toolbox. Tips for searching statutes are below. This may look long and complicated, but it is really pretty intuitive once you get into it. Once you have your answer, and the relevant statutes, you should return to the Decision Tree. Use the bookmark you made earlier, in question 1.

2. Choose your search term(s). First try the most obvious - if you are looking for laws about the HUSKY program, try HUSKY. Most of the time, this will work well and get you what you are looking for. However at times the legislative term for something is different from what the rest of us call it. In that case, try:

  • Using similar words -- check a thesaurus, check with other people
  • Search the general State of Connecticut site with your word  -- you may find a document that uses your term and gives others
  • Use a broader or more narrow category -- for example "durable medical equipment" gives 3 hits, but "wheelchair" gives 16 hits

2. There are several options to search Connecticut laws. CT's General Statutes are organized as one huge book, with a Table of Contents. The laws are organized by topic area first into Titles, then Chapters and then Sections within Chapters. Each Chapter and Section has a title that describes the topic it covers.

3. Probably the best way to start is a Chapter search. The results of this search will give you a list of all the Chapters of statute that have your word.

Go to the CT General Assembly's search page:

You will need to enter parameters for your search. To begin, type your search word that you chose above in the second box after Text: Leave the first box as "contains the phrase" Next, under In Database(s): scroll down to "Statutes - Chapter Format" and highlight it Leave all the other boxes as they are (blank) Then, hit the Search button at the top, left of the screen

You will get a screen with your database search results - a search for "HUSKY" finds that there are 9 documents (Chapters in this case) with the word HUSKY, and the word appears 135 times in CT statutes

Click on the blue highlighted "Statutes - Chapter Format"

This brings you to your Summary of Statutes containing your word - this is the list of all the Chapters with your word somewhere in the text. It also gives the Chapter number and title.

Click on the first blue highlighted "document name" in the list.

You will come to the first chapter that contains your word. The Chapter begins with the Table of Contents for that Chapter. At the top of the screen, click on the blue arrow after "Go to first hit:"

It will move to the first place in the Chapter that your word appears. The word is highlighted in yellow flanked by more blue arrows. These arrows move you to the next occurrence of your word in the Chapter in the direction of the arrow.

If after looking around in this Chapter, it looks like something relevant that you want to keep, you can:

  • Click on "download" at the very top of the document. This will create a text file containing the entire chapter that you can print and/or save on your computer.
  • Drag to select the sections you want to keep, copy and print and/or paste into another file to keep on your computer.

To go to the next document from your search, you can

  • Click on "next doc/db" at the top of the screen taking you to the next document on the list, or
  • Click on "summary" at the top, which will take you back to the list

4. If your search isn't getting you relevant answers, you can search again by clicking "search" at the top of the screen

  • Change the parameters of the text search to "contains all" or "contains any" using more than one word to narrow or broaden the range of results
  • Search the database "Statutes K (Text) to get just the sections of statutes with your word, this gives less extraneous text, but sections in the same chapter as your hit may be relevant to your search

5. If you'd rather browse the Table of Contents of the statutes, go to:  This will give you a list of the Titles and their subject areas. You can click on the titles, and get the list of Chapters within a Title. Click on a Chapter and get a list of Sections within that Chapter. You can click on any Section and get the text. You can browse up and down within and between Sections, Chapters and Titles.

6. Or you can give up, call your state legislator or librarian and ask them to look it up for you.

Once, you find out if there is a law about your problem, go back to the Advocacy Toolbox Decision Tree.


CT State Library Statute page

Legislative Commissioner's Office tips for searching statutes

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