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Federal Legislative History

An overview of how to search for compiled federal legislative histories and other Congressional documents

Where Do I Find Compiled Federal Legislative Histories?

Congressional committees and private publishers often compile histories for specific acts by collecting relevant documents and publishing them together. The documents included can vary; many are included at the discretion of the compiler.  

  •  HeinOnline: U.S. Federal Legislative History Library
  • ProQuest Legislative Insight: PDFs of full-text legislative histories of passed legislation (1789-2015). Coverage includes more than 27,000 laws (major laws and select additional laws), including CIS histories 1970-2010. Patrons should use the Proquest Congressional database for comprehensive coverage of congressional documents, including those not included as part of a compiled legislative history.
  • ProQuest Congressional: Online legislative histories derived from the CIS Index. Most have links to full-text. Searchable by keyword. Coverage is 91st Congress (1969) to present.
  • CIS Index: Print Index for these legislative histories (1971-2000). Law Library Fourth Floor, Range 408.
  • United States Code Congressional and Administrative News(USCCAN): Second Floor, Row 213. Coverage 1944 to present.
    • USCCAN publishes the full text of most public laws, lists the reports associated with bills, lists the dates of debate, and reprints portions of the most significant reports.
    • Also available on Westlaw
  • Westlaw
    • GAO Legislative Histories: Coverage 1915-1995.
    • Arnold & Porter Legislative History Collection: 31 legislative histories compiled by the Arnold & Porter law firm.
  • Lexis Advance: Proquest Congressional CIS Legislative Histories. Coverage 1970-present.
  • GMU Library Catalog: To locate compiled legislative histories at the George Mason Law Library, search using keywords for your topic and the phrase “legislative history.”
  • Union List of Legislative Histories: List of legislative histories compiled by libraries in the Washington, D.C. area. Published by The Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. REFERENCE KF4.U55 2000.
  • Department of Justice Legislative Histories: A small collection of legislative histories compiled by DOJ librarians; available online.

Sources to Determine if a Compiled Legislative History is Available