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Federal Legislation: Legislative History Resources

Guide to federal law, United States Code, Statutes at Large, legislative history, and other legislative resources

Overview of the Legislative Process

I'm Just a Bill

From
Schoolhouse Rock, Disney Educational Video.  Available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFroMQlKiag.

Sample Legislative Process

Legislative History Resources

Documents of Legislative History
 
Bills & Proposed Resolutions 
Proposed legislation comes in the form of bills or proposed resolutions. There can be many versions as the legislation works its way through the legislative process.
 
Bills & proposed resolutions can be found on Congress.gov, ProQuest Congressional, Lexis, and Westlaw
 
Committee Hearing Transcripts
Committee hearings are a way for Congress to engage in fact-finding.  The committee invites witnesses, generally experts in the hearing's subject matter, to testify at the hearings.  The witness usually reads a prepared statement, then is questioned by committee members.  Prepared statements are often available before the full hearing transcript.
 
Committee hearing transcripts can be found at the various committee websites, while witness prepared statements can often (depending on the witness) be found on the website of the organization with which the witness is affiliated.  Hearing transcripts can also be found  on Congress.gov, ProQuest Congressional, Lexis, and Westlaw.   
 
Committee Reports
When the committee decides to send the bill/resolution back to the full Congressional chamber for a vote, it generally send it back with a report that explains the changes the bill/resolution would make to current law and includes a section-by-section analysis to explain each section of the proposed law.
 
Committee reports can be found on Congress.gov, ProQuest Congressional, Lexis, and Westlaw.  See below.  Selected committee reports also appear in the United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.). 
 
Congressional Floor Debate
Remarks made on the floor of the House and Senate are transcribed in the Congressional Record.
 
The Congressional Record can be found on Congress.gov, ProQuest Congressional, Lexis, and Westlaw

Subject Guide

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Diana Botluk
Contact:
Diana Botluk

Reference Librarian and Associate Professor, Law Library

Barry University Law Library

6441 East Colonial Drive

Orlando, Florida 32807

321-206-5727
Subjects:Law