Municipal Bonds

Municipal Bonds in the United States

Legal Materials

Municipal bonds are bonds issued by local governments. They generally pay less interest than comparably rated corporate bonds, but the interest on a municipal bond is not subject to Federal tax, and it’s generally not subject to state or local tax for in-state residents.

The Bond Buyer reports on municipal bond news and provides rankings of leading underwriters, law firms, trustees, financial advisors, etc. The Bond Buyer is available on Lexis and Westlaw. Rankings are also available in the US Municipals Review section of Thomson Reuters’ Deals Intelligence; access is available after free registration.

To get information on the “players” in the municipal bond market, search the Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (“The Redbook”) in print or online.

Municipality Filings: Any municipal government that issues bonds is required to file annual financial reports, material event notices and other “continuing disclosure” documents. These filing are available in EMMA, the Electronic Municipal Market Access system, as of July 1, 2009. You can learn more about these filings on the MSRB’s Understanding Continuing Disclosure page.

Before July 1, 2009 the go-to source for municipal bond filings were SEC-designated private companies known as “Nationally Recognized Municipal Securities Information Repositories” (NRMSIRs). I used to use a Repository called DPC Data, and you can still call them for older filings or use their MuniFILINGS database.

Official Statements: Municipal bond underwriters are required to file a prospectus called an “Official Statement” with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) for all new public bond issues. You can get copies of Official Statements for bonds issued since 1990 from EMMA, the Electronic Municipal Market Access system. Otherwise, you can request an Official Statement by sending a completed request form and check for a small fee to the MSRB. You can get the form by calling the MSRB’s office in Alexandria, Virginia (202-223-9503).

Note: Filing is not required for private placements. You can call the issuer or another involved party to try to get the private placement memorandum.

Prices & Interest Rates: EMMA website provides real-time prices and yields at which municipal bonds and notes are bought and sold, for most trades occurring on or after January 31, 2005. For more sources, see “Bond Prices.”

Interest rates for municipal securities, including auction rate securities and variable rate demand obligations, are available on the EMMA website.

Municipal Bonds and the State Laws

Select from the list of U.S. States below for state-specific information on Municipal Bonds:


See Also

Bond Prices
Debt Ratings
Interest Rates
Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board
Mutual Funds

Further Reading

Municipal Bonds: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Municipal Bonds. This part provides references, in relation to Municipal Bonds, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Municipal Bonds by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Municipal Bonds and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Municipal Bonds or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Municipal Bonds and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Municipal Bonds. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Municipal Bonds should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Municipal Bonds when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

Leave a Comment