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Federal Legislative History: Home

What is a legislative history?

A legislative history is a compilation of documents produced during the enactment process of a congressional bill. Legislative histories include bill versions, testimony and prepared remarks presented at congressional committee hearings, committee and conference reports, house and senate documents, remarks made during House and Senate proceedings, voting records of bills and amendments, and even presidential signing statements.

How do I begin researching legislative history?

To research legislative history, you will need to figure out what course a bill took after it was introduced. So a bill number is key in identifying the major legislative history documents associated with it. It is also helpful to know the public law number and Statutes-at-Large citation. If you are beginning with a U.S. Code citation, refer to the historical notes at the end of each section of the U.S. Code which will cite to at least one public law number. If you are beginning with a popular name of a law (e.g. Americans with Disabilities Act), refer to a Popular Name table.

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