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Federal Legislative History Guide

How to locate, compile, and understand the legislative history of federal acts.

About Bills

The legislative process begins with the introduction of a bill in  the House and/or the Senate. Each bill is numbered,  printed, referred to a committee, and often amended many times before it is finally passed. There are many versions of a bill and comparing the various versions of a bill may provide insight into the intended meaning of the law.

The bill number is an important piece of information in tracing a legislative history. Bills are Numbered consecutively by the house in which they are introduced. Each bill has its own legislative history.  Bill Numbers do not carry over to the next Congress.

Sample Citation

H.R. 68, 109th Cong. (Mar. 1, 2005)
S. 67, 109th Cong. (Jan. 25,2005)

Locating Bills

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