Before beginning legislative history research, please note that a legislative history may have already been compiled for the law you need to research. It may contain the full text of all or some of the documents. Some places to look for compiled legislative histories are listed below.
Links to Lexis and Westlaw are to the specific databases referenced. A password is needed to access these services.
Indexes to Locate Compiled Legislative Histories
Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories (Reference KF 1 .A16Am34 1981- no. 14)
This source indexes legislative histories for major laws from 1st through 99th Congress (1789-1987). Part I-A is an annotated list of sources of legislative history materials. Part I-B lists and annotates special collections by subject. Part II lists selected laws by public law number/Statutes at Large citation. Included is the bibliographic information needed to locate the compilation as well as a notation whether it contains documents in full text or excerpted format. Check INNOPAC, the online card catalog, or a reference librarian to see if we have the compilation.
- (print, 1953- ) (Gov Docs GP 3.8)
- (OCLC First Search, July, 1976- )On campus access only.
- (FDsys, January, 1994- )
Sometimes government agencies issue compiled legislative histories which are indexed here. Search by subject or keywords from the popular name of the act.
Index to Legal Periodicals (print,1886- ) (Reference)
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (print,1980- ) (Reference)
(online, 1980- ) (on campus access only).
Compiled legislative histories may appear in law review articles or other legal journals. Search Legaltrac using the popular name of the act or by the subject, "legislative history". Search Index to Legal Periodicals by the subject of the act or by the subject, "legislative history".
INNOPAC, online card catalog - http://innopac.law.villanova.edu
Our library may own some published compilations of legislative histories. Search our online catalog using menu selection (W), KeyWORDS in title, and type keywords from the popular name of the act.
Sources Containing Legislative Histories
United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN)
- (1941- ) (Print, Reading Room & Lower Stacks)
USCCAN provides full text of all public laws enacted and cites to legislative history documents, as well as selectively providing full text of important committee reports. Text of the laws are arranged by public law number/Statutes at Large citation with references to the pages where the legislative history may be located. There are also legislative history tables and indexes by subject and bill number.
CIS Index (print, 1970- ) (Reference)
From the 91st through 98th Congresses (1970-1983), legislative histories appear in back of the Abstract volume. Listed by public law number they include dates for Congressional Record debates and references to CIS Abstracts for most hearings and reports. Indexes by Subject and Names, Titles, and Bill Numbers are included in the CIS Index volumes.
Since the 99th Congress (1984- ), an individual volume is devoted to legislative histories. Here legislative histories are also arranged by public law number and include abstracts of the public laws and full bibliographic citations for all relevant documents. There are indexes by subject and bill number in the CIS Legislative Histories volumes.
Index to Legal Periodicals (1886- ) (Reference)
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (1980- ) (Reference)
Compiled legislative histories may appear in law review articles or other legal journals. Search by the subject of the act or by using the subject, "legislative history."
Congressional Information Service (CIS) Congressional Universe (on campus access only).
Search the CIS Index (1970- ), CIS Congressional Indexes (1789-1969), and other legislative information.
Microform (Lower Stacks - Microform Cabinet 1)
Our microform collection includes various legislative histories from the 61st through 97th Congress (1909-1983), arranged as follows: Internal Revenue Acts, 1909-1950; legislative histories of various laws filed in public law number order from the 82nd (1951) through 97th (1982) Congress; the Kaminstein...Copyright Act of 1976; the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Act of 1934; and Revenue Acts of 1953-1972.
Westlaw's database, U. S. Code Legislative History, contains the legislative histories of public laws from 1948 through December 1989 and the text of selected committee reports as they appear in USCCAN. Legislative histories of securities laws begin with 1933. Since January 1990 all congressional committee reports are included, even reports for bills that did not become a law. Search by topic using the public law number or a unique portion of its popular name, for example: