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Guides and Trackers
Sources for Congressional publications, such as bills, committee prints, hearings, reports, debates, and voting can be found in this guide under Congress. Sources for the Constitution, public & private laws, United States Statutes at Large, and the United States Code can be found in this guide under Law.
The following government and professional sources either track legislative action or provide a list of compiled legislative histories.
History of Bills and Resolutions
Index to the actions on a bill taken in Congress. Found in each Bound volume of the Congressional Record (1873-2001, 2003- ). Search on "history of bills and resolutions" and filter your results by Congressional Record (Bound Edition). "History of Bills and Resolutions" can also be found at the end of each volume of both the House and Senate Journals. All hosted on govinfo.gov.
Legislative Histories of Selected U.S. Laws on the Internet: Free Sources
Part of the "Legislative Source Book" of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C. Additional free histories are available to Society members. Links to commercial sources are also available there.
Bills since 1973 (full text since 1989), amendments since 1981 (full text since 1995), full text of laws since 1981. Can see stages of legislation here, and it is easily searched. Links to the official version of the bill. Includes committee reports but not hearings.
United States Statutes at Large
A very brief history can be found after each law for 1951-2011. Hosted on govinfo.gov. Previous volumes of the Statutes can be found on HathiTrust.
The Libraries have these print guides:
- CIS Annual has a volume of legislative histories for U.S. public laws in the volumes published 1984-2000, at: Dewey Ref and Storage GovDoc Ref Z 1223 .A252x.
- Federal Legislative Histories: an Annotated Bibliography and Index to Officially Published Sources, compiled by Bernard D. Reams, at: Dewey Ref KF 42.2 1994. Approximately 255 histories for 1862-1990.
- Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories: a Bibliography of Government Documents, Periodicals Articles, and Books, 1st Congress-94th Congress, compiled by Nancy Johnson, at: Dewey Ref KF 42.2 1979. (Also available on HeinOnline.)
- U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN), produced by Thomson Reuters, at: Storage & Dewey KF 48. Library has 1964-2017. Contains text of laws and selected committee reports. (1948-1989 available on Westlaw Campus.)
- Union list of legislative histories: 47th Congress, 1883- 89th Congress, 1966, compiled by the Law Librarians' Society of Washington DC, at: Storage KF 42.2 1967. Current edition (800 pages) available for download for LLSDC members. Older editions can be found online at HathiTrust.org.
Legislative histories on a particular law or subject can be identified in UAlbany's Search tool, WorldCat, and the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. Include this phrase in your search: "legislative history"
(HeinOnline also has legislative histories from GPO and commercial sources. Westlaw Campus has legislative histories produced by Thomson-Reuters for 1948-1989.)
Reference & Gov't Information Librarian