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RPOS495Z: Research & Writing in Washington

This guide contains information and resources for compiling legislative histories as well as other useful sources for researching US federal law and policy

Compiling a Legislative History

A legislative history consists of the documents produced in the legislative process. These documents are useful in determining legislative intent, or the purpose or goal that lawmakers had in mind at the time of enactment.

The documents that make up a legislative history include:

  • The text of the bill, which may include multiple versions proposed across more than one session of Congress
  • Records of committee hearings, which include statements and testimonies from experts and other interested parties
  • Floor debates of the House or Senate
  • Committee Reports, which include the committee's detailed analysis of the bill

Sources for Legislative History Documents

Subscription Databases available through UAlbany Libraries
Library Search
Government Resources Online