Skip to Main Content

APA 7th Edition Style Guide

Help with using the APA 7th edition


Acts:     Legislation which has passed both chambers of Congress in identical form, been signed into law by the president, or passed over his veto, thus becoming law. 

Code:     Once an act becomes a public law, it is codified and organized in the United State Code and United State Code  Annotated, the subject compilations of statutes in effect.  The United States Code is currently organized into 53 subject titles (titles 1­­-52 and 54, with title 53 in reserve) and includes an index, a popular names table, and other supplementary tables. 

Federal Statutes:  Laws enacted by Congress with (and in some circumstances without) the approval of  the President.

Public laws:  A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.

State Statute:  Laws enacted by a state legislature and signed into law by the governor.

Statutes:  Laws passed by a legislature.

Special Notes on Sources for Federal Statutes

  • The official code for federal statutes is the United States Code (U.S.C.)

  • There are also two unofficial codes for federal statutes: United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) and United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.)

  • Because Congress enacts new laws and amends and repeals existing laws frequently, you will often need to cite to one of these unofficial codes because the current version of a statute has not yet been published in the United States Code.

Adding the Name of the Statute

In addition to the basic citation, you may need to include the act name of the statute: 

  • When you are citing to an entire act as codified in the United States Code
  • If the statute is commonly cited by the name
  • If the information aids in identification of the material

For example:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act , 20  U.S.C.A. §§ 1232g (West 2012)

  • If you cannot figure out whether you need to include the name of a statute in a citation or if you do not know how to find the name, email

Federal Statute Example-- United States Code Annotated

A citation to a statute in the United States Code Annotated generally contains the following five elements:

17 U.S.C.A. § 107 et seq(West 2012 & Supp. 2021)

  1. Title number
  2. U.S.C.A.
  3. Section number preceded by the section symbol (§) and a space
  4. Publisher
  5. Year of the code
  6. If the code section has been recently amended, it will appear in the supplement, This is expressed by  the (2021 Supp.) 

*The date in a citation to the United States Code Annotated is the year of the code edition cited as it appears on the spine of the print volume or the title page.  It is not the year a statute was enacted or last amended.*


Adding the Name of the Statute

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1431-1444 (West 2017)

  • If you cannot figure out whether you need to include the name of a statute in a citation or if you do not know how to find the name, email


State statute citations are generally composed of three parts: the title of the code, a section number, publisher, and date

As with federal statutory codes, the date in the citation is the year the statutory code was published, as it appears on the spine of the volume, the title page, or the copyright page, in that order of preference.  It is not the date the statute was enacted or last amended.

The citation below was enacted in 2017 and was amended in 2021.

KY. STAT. ANN. §136.150 (West 2017 & Supp. 2021)

If the statute is not in the supplement that means that has not been amended in the most legislative session.  The following would be the citation:

KY. STAT. ANN. §136.150 (West 2017)