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Federal Legislative History

Researching a post 1970 Federal Legislative History In the Garbrecht Law Library

Compiled Legislative Histories

Sources for Compiled Legislative Histories include

Law Review and Journal Articles


Researching a Federal Legislative History in the Garbrecht Law Library

q  Legislative histories may include bills, committee reports, debates (published in the Congressional Record), hearings, and Presidential Statements (Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents).  Secondary Sources and Non-governmental documents give the researcher background and analysis.


q  Find the public law number to start using the Congressional Information Service (CIS) Index and Abstracts located on the 3rd floor of the Library.  The Public Law number is available in Popular Names Table and the annotations to the USCA/USCS.  The CIS Index and Abstracts is the most comprehensive legislative history index, for post 1970 public laws. It compiles a list of all government documents relating to the passage of a particular public law.


q  For laws passed before 1984 use the CIS Abstracts volume.

There is a public law index in the back of each volume.  Under each entry you will see references to documents for that public law.  Senate documents start with an S and House documents start with an H.  Abstracts are available for these entries in the Abstracts volume. 


q  For laws passed after 1984 CIS  published an annual volume of Legislative Histories. This volume collects all you need in one place, referring you by number to the documents on microfiche.  The Legislative History volume gives the user brief abstracts and references to expanded abstracts in the Abstract volume.


q  NOTE: Many laws are just one section of an omnibus or comprehensive act; all the legislative history documents may not be relevant

Finding Resources

q  FDsys: Federal Digital System. Produced by the Government Printing Office (GPO) Contains a large selection of Government Documents post 1998 on.   


q  CIS microfiche : KF 49.5 (Use for pre-1982 Hearings, Reports, Committee Prints.) You will also need the CIS number for each entry. FDsys: 1998-


q  Hearings : Microfiche KF24.9.  You will need the Government Document number. FDsys: 1998-


q  Reports : Microfiche KF29.7.  You will need the Government Document number. FDsys: 1998-


q  Bills. 1980-2000 are available on microfiche: KF 16 S95.  You must use the Superintendent of Documents Microfiche User’s Guide to find the bills coordinates. You will need the document number.  FDsys: 1998-


q  Debate.  Congressional Record is available on microfiche : KF35 R5, FDsys & Hein on Line. FDsys: 1998-


q  Enacted legislation. United States Statutes at Large.   Available on the 2nd floor, FDsys, & Hein On Line. The PL may include citations to Reports & Congressional Record.  FDsys: 1998-


q  Presidential Statement.  Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Microfiche: KF5051.A4 U5, Hein On Line & FDsys: 1998-.  Recompiled into Public Papers of the President.  2nd floor KF5051. A4 U5

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