Online and print resources for the study of law.

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Milton S. Eisenhower Library


Jim Gillispie, Government Documents and Law

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Statutory Law Sources

BILLS AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORIES: The introduction of a bill in Congress is the first step in the legislative process.  Comprehensive legislative histories provide a listing of all the hearings, reports, and debate that occurs from the time a bill was introduced until it becomes a public law.  To track a bill or read a full legislative history please see:

  1. Proquest Congressional.  Most comprehensive collection of legislative histories.  Take advantage of the advanced searching capabilities to look specifically for bills and related hearings, CRS Reports, legislative histories and the Serial Set.  All sources are searchable back to their inception.

  2. THOMAS, a resource of the Library of Congress, also provides access to legislative materials.  It is paricularly excellent for bill tracking in the current Congress.  Content is accessible back to the 93rd Congress (1973-1974).

  3. The Government Publications, Maps and Law library has copies of all bills from 1789 - 1972 on microform.  Ask at the GPML desk for assistance with searching.

When a law is first passed, it is printed individually in slip law format.  At the end of each congress, the slip laws are bound together in chonological order and published in the U.S. Statutes at Large.  Every six years public laws are incorporated into the United States Code, which is a codification of all general and permanent laws of the United States.  The U.S. Code is arranged by topic, and shows the present status of laws (including amendments.

    1. LexisNexis Academic.  Click on the US Legal heading in the left menu.  Then click on Federal Statutes, Codes and Regulations (see LexisNexis State Capital to search for state codes and regulations).  Annotated U.S. Code (USCS) should already be selected for you.  You have the option of searching by keyword, or you can use the (Browse) link and drill down through the sections of the code and search within selected sections by topic (Quick Find at top - select sections you want to search using the checkbox).

WestlawNext.  In the middle menu section, under Statues and Regulations, you can either select the United State Code Annotated and use the search box(es) to search by keyword.  Or you can opt to browse through the Table of Contents.  LexisNexis offers a little more functionality in searching in that you can searching within specific topical sections of the code.