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Federal Legislative History Research

Finding Legislative Histories

Subscription databases:
  1. ProQuest Congressional
    1. Note the left hand frame.  Click on ‘Search by Number.’ Click on ‘Public Law Number.’  Use the pull down menu to select the 92nd Congress.  Enter ‘535’ in the box. Click on the 3rd entry, Bald and golden eagles, protection. 
    2. Under ‘Reports,’ click on the link 12974-1 H.rp.817; scroll down to ‘PDF – Full Text,’ Replica of Original - Complete (481280).  You have a pdf copy of the House Report. 
  2. ProQuest Legislative Insight
    1. Legislative Insight is stripped down version of ProQuest Congressional.  It includes only the documents related to the passage of a law.  If there are hearings, reports, bills, etc., that relate to an earlier iteration of the passed law, ProQuest Congressional.  In other words, a bill might have been introduced in an earlier congress and failed to pass.  That bill introduced in the earlier congress may be introduced in a later congress and passed.

Compiled Legislative Histories

  1. Rule of The Day:  Don’t reinvent the wheel. 
  2. Governmental, Commercial And Non-Profits All Have Strong Motivations To Compile Legislative Histories On Major Enactments For Purposes Of Administration, Sale, Lobbying, Litigation, Etc.
  3. These Are Highly Useful Sources If One Exists For Your Public Law
  4. Library Catalog.  Select “Numbers.”  Limit to Dewey, ‘Public Law Number.’
  5. Library Catalog.  Search ‘Legislative History’  revenue
  6. Research Databases.  HeinOnline.  U.S. Legislative History Library

Bibliographies Of Compiled Legislative Histories

  1. Federal Legislative Histories: An Annotated Bibliography And Index To Officially Published Sources. Greenwood Press. 1994 Res. KF 42.2 1994
    1. 255 Legislative Histories (1862-1990)
  2. Sources Of Compiled Legislative Histories. Fred B. Rothman & Co. 1996
    1. Res.KF 42.2 1979 (Updated Last In 1992


Free web access: 

  1. Congress.gov
    1. “ is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information.”
  2. Fdsys à Browse All
    1. Congressional Bills. 103rd Congress to Present
    2. Congressional Committee Prints including Ways and Means Committee Prints.  104th Congress to Present
    3. Congressional Hearings including House and Senate Appropriations Hearings.  104th Congress to Present
    4. Congressional Record (Bound).  1999 to 2001
    5. Congressional Reports including Conference Reports
      104th Congress to Present
    6. Public and Private Laws.  104th Congress to Present