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Federal Legislative History

This guide provides an overview of how to locate federal legislative history.

Introduction

Once you know the public law number, the bill number, and/or the title of the act, you can start looking for legislative history documents: reports, bills, hearings, committee prints, the Congressional Record, and presidential documents. You need to get citations to the individual documents that exist for the law you are interested in, so you will need to use specialized finding aids and indexes. Once you have citations, the remainder of the Guide will let you know where the document you want can be found, online, in print, or in microform.

Indexes Online

ProQuest Congressional Restricted Resource . This subscription Internet database indexes the American State Papers and the 15th-to-current Congresses (1789 to current). Use the "Advanced Search" tab, which allows you to limit your search to the type of document you want, the subject, and, if known, the date or Congress. This index will help you find citations to reports, hearings, committee prints, and House and Senate documents, as well as the Congressional Record (1985 - current) and bills (1969 - current).

Indexes in Print

The following indexes are located near the Microforms Collection on the 1st Floor.

Indexes for Finding Congressional Reports

Reports before 1970 are indexed in:

CIS US Serial Set Index,
LAW FEDERAL 1st floor  KF 12 .U51
The reports are indexed by subject and keyword, and each entry contains a brief description of the report. This index provides both the report number from the Serial Set and the CIS number, to help you find the full-text of each report.

Indexes for Finding Hearings

Hearings after 1970 are indexed in:

CIS Annual
LAW MICROFORMS 1st floor  KF 49 .C62 (available on LexisNexis)
Organized by subject, title, and bill number.

Abstracts for each hearing are listed in the "Reference Bibliography" section. These abstracts include a detailed description of the hearing and a CIS number, which is needed to locate the full-text of the hearing in the Library's microforms collection.

These hearings are indexed by subject, name, organization, and bill number. Abstracts for each hearing include a detailed description of the hearing and the CIS number needed to locate the full-text of the hearing in the Library's microforms collection.

Indexes for Finding Committee Prints

Committee Prints from 1979 to current (91st Congress to current) are indexed in the CIS Annual.

Committee Prints are indexed by subject, title, and bill number. If you have the public law number, the easiest way to locate a committee print is to check the legislative history section at the end of CIS Annual.

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