PSCI 311: Congress: Legislative History

What is a Legislative History?

A legislative history is:

  1. A chronological list of actions that have occurred on a measure 
  2. A collection of documents produced as part of the bill's progress to enactment.  

They are used to:

  • Discern the intent of Congress on a particular provision of a law
  • Identify proponents and opponents and their arguments for or against a provision.    

Resources for Tracking Current Bills

Published Legislative Histories

Finding Public Law and Bill Numbers

For major legislation, you can often find the bill or public law number through Wikipedia. For more authoritative and complete information, use the following resources.

Don't have the public law or bill number?

  • Use the resources in the box on the right.
  • Search by keyword in Congressional Publications
    • Look for the number in the records of the items found.
    • Re-run your search doing a Number Search.