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Compiled Histories in Print Library Collection
Legislative histories have been compiled by Hein Co. as well as by individual federal agencies and various House and Senate subcommittees. To locate them in the library catalog, search for "legislative history" and the name of your Act. A few examples are listed below.
Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories : a Bibliography of Government Documents, Periodical Articles, and Books, 1st Congress-113th Congress by
Call Number: Reference: KF42.2 .S68 2014
Publication Date: 2014
Congress and the Courts: a Legislative History
Publication Date: 1787 - 2011
There are seven sets in the series with multiple volumes in each set, spanning several congressional sessions. Review the series list and look for your Congress of interest.
Compiled Histories Available Online (Subscription Databases)
HeinOnline's Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories Database
Browse by session of Congress or search by Bill Number, Document Title, Public Law Number, Popular Name or Public Law Title.
Compiled histories give citations but not necessarily full text access to each of the documents listed in the history.
U.S. GAO Federal Legislative Histories
Covers most public laws from 1921 - 1995. Compiled by the Government Accountability Office and includes the text of laws, bills, committee reports, Congressional Record documents, transcripts of hearings, and other documents. Search template offers many options including searching by keyword, bill number, public law number, name of Act, hearing number or Statutes at Large citation among others.
U.S. Code Congressional & Administrative News: Legislative History Reports
Offers compiled histories (select committee reports and presidential signing statements) as published in the U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN) from 1948 through 1989. Also provides committee reports (including those for bills that did not become law) from 1990 to present. Does not include hearings or debates.
Arnold & Porter Legislative Histories
Organized by Act name. Histories compiled by a Washington, D.C. law firm and includes the text of bills, committee reports, transcripts of hearings, and other documents.
Legislative histories organized by title.
IRC Legislative History
Excerpts from congressional committee reports for bills affecting the Internal Revenue Code. Also links to public laws, statutes and cases affecting that section.
Tax Legislative Histories Combined
Selected House, Senate, and Conference Committee Bills and Reports, as well as Public Laws affecting Title 26. 1954 to present.
CRS (Congressional Research Service) Reports
The Congressional Research Service is a division of the Library of Congress that researches and produces reports on pending legislation for members of Congress. These reports typically analyze existing legislation on a particular topic along with its history. Previously the Library of Congress did not make CRS reports available directly to the public but a new law required that all reports issued in 2018 and beyond must be made available to the public. Older reports will likely be made available through the CRS website as well but for now various agencies and organizations do provide some on their websites. Other reports may be obtained by contacting members of Congress. See the links below for various collections of these reports.
CRS Reports Search (Congress.gov)
Search by keyword or leave the search box blank and click "search" to view an index of available reports which can then be filtered by topic, author, date or status. Reports issued in 2018 and after are included and older reports are being added to the collection. Read more about CRS reports here: https://crsreports.congress.gov/Home/About
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports (Stanford University)
Links to snapshots taken of other sites that provide CRS reports.
NOTE: This collection offers many different sources but it may not contain all reports available from the listed organizations. For instance, the Department of State snapshot goes back to 2008 but the actual Department of State CRS Reports webpage goes back to 1999.
Free digital library. Search by keyword.
Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS) and Issue Briefs.(2017-2021)
CRS Reports archived from the Department's website under the Trump Administration (2017-2021). Internationally focused but covers everything from defense to immigration and even U.S. cultural legislation.
Federation of American Scientists
CRS reports on national security, intelligence, foreign policy, nuclear weapons and other topics.
CRS Bill Summaries
Search for the database by name or click on the "Legislative History" link on the main browse page and look for the database under "Tools & Resources" on the right side of the page. If prompted to enter a client ID, simply enter any combination of letters or numbers (the IDs are not tracked or billed).
Congressional Research Service Reports
Search by keyword or browse by date range. Coverage from 2005. Links directly to bills and Public laws.
Congressional Research Service Reports
Searchable by keyword. Reports from 1999 to present. PDFs of reports are available.
Located in the U.S. Congressional Documents database. Browse by name of report or run a keyword search in the database.
Free Sources of Compiled Histories
Government Agencies & Non-profits
Many government agencies and nonprofits compile legislative histories and make them available on their websites. Identify which agencies and nonprofits work in the area addressed by your Act and review their websites for links to legislation, publications or even "advocacy" pages. Keep in mind that nonprofits may have an agenda or point of view and that legislative histories compiled by any source (be it government or private) may not be 100% complete.
Full list of current federal government agencies
Offers archived versions of websites for now-defunct/non-longer functioning government commissions and agencies. Search by keyword or browse by agency name, branch of government or date of expiration.
Guide Star (List of Nonprofits)
List of IRS-recognized nonprofits organized by focus area. Nonprofits may offer a compiled history or simply link to individual documents such as transcripts of testimony received at committee hearings.
Secondary Sources Online
Law review articles often function as a compiled legislative history, listing at least the key pieces such as bill versions, hearings, committee reports etc. They may not be complete and are not likely to provide the full-text of the documents but they will offer citations to give you a starting point in building your own legislative history.
Practice guides and treatises sometimes include legislative histories either as part of their text or as a separate appendix. Simply find the leading resources on your subject and browse their tables of contents.
Legislative History Tables
USCCAN Legislative History Table
From 2000 (106th Congress) - present. Table lists legislation by Congress and session number in order according to Public Law number. Includes statutes at large citation, House or Senate report numbers, lists Committees who considered the bill and gives passage dates for both chambers.