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Legislative History Research (Federal and South Dakota)  

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Compiled Legislative Histories Print Page

What is a Compiled Legislative History? / Search Strategies for Finding Compiled Legislative Histories

Sometimes the legislative history documents for a major piece of legislation have already been collected in one place and are called a "compiled legislative history."

  • Compiled Legislative Histories may be published as individual books. Search the catalog (box to the right) to find books in the USD Law Library and other libraries for books containing the legislative history documents for a specific federal Act.  For legislation enacted before the coverage in online resources, a search for print materials in the library is the best method of finding full-text, compiled legislative histories.

  • Thie indexes, or "bibliographies," of Compiled Legislative Histories (box to the right) will direct you to books, government documents and articles that contain citations to and discussions of the legislative history for a specific federal Act. These bibliographies also are useful for finding legislative histories for legislation enacted before the coverage in online services.

  • Law review or journal articles also discuss the legislative history of specific federal Acts.  Use the Index to Legal Periodicals (box below), HeinOnline, WestlawNext and LexisAdvance to find articles.

  • United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.)(far right column).  For legislation enacted from 1941 to the present, USSCAN provides a good method of finding the full text of a committee report and citations to other legislative documents.

  • Congressional Information Service (CIS) Annual (far right column). 1970-2004. For public laws, each CIS legislative history contains a list of relevant legislative history documents.  For each document, CIS sets out a SUDoc number used to locate it in print and a CIS number to locate it in microfiche. 

  • For each public law within their coverage, the online sources (far right column) provide citations to legislative documents and also may provide the full text of the documents.

Find Articles Discussing Legislative Histories Using the Index to Legal Periodicals

Use the Index to Legal Periodicals to find law review and journal articles on the topic of elder law.


Search the USD Law Library Catalog or Other Libraries for Compiled Legislative Histories

Search USD McKusick Law Library Online Catalog:
Use Advanced Search for more search options   

Search USD and libraries worldwide with WorldCat@USD


Books in the USD Law Library containing Bibliographies or Indexes of Compiled Legislative Histories

Cover Art
Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories - Nancy P. Johnson (Compiled by)
Publication Date: 2014

Cover Art
Federal Legislative Histories - Bernard D. Reams; Survey Research Consultants International, Inc. Staff
ISBN: 0313230927
Publication Date: 1994-02-28
This books contains 255 legislative histories, from the 37th Congress in 1862 through the 101st Congress 2d Session in 1990. The histories are accessed by author, popular name of the public law, Congressional session law numbers before 1901, public law numbers after 1990, and bill number. Each entry refers the user to the record number used to identify a particular legislative history.

Cover Art
Union List of Legislative Histories - The Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., Inc.
Publication Date: 7th ed. 2000
This publication provides a list of the libraries in the Washington, D.C. area that have compiled in-house legislative histories or have acquired published histories for particular laws of the United States. It is current through the 105th Congress. Primary access is by public law number for law enacted after 1900. Laws enacted in 1900 or earlier are listed by congressional session and chapter numbers.


Print and Microfiche Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories

Cover Art
United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (print) - West Publishing
Publication Date: 1941-present
For each session of Congress, the first several volumes contain the public laws, organized by the Statutes at Large citation. The remaining volumes for a session, labeled "Legislative History" on the spines, contain the full text or a portion of selected committee or conference reports related to an enacted public law, as well as the text of presidential signing statements. Immediately before the committee or conference report, USSCAN's legislative history section provides the citations to all committee and conference reports, the dates of consideration and passage of the bill in both houses, and presidential signing statements, as well as the date of enactment.

Cover Art
Congressional Information Service (CIS) - Congressional Information Service
Publication Date: 1970-2004
Abstracts, Subject Indexes and Legislative Histories in print. For 1970-1984, the legislative histories are found at the end of the CIS Abstracts volumes for each year. For 1984-2004, the legislative histories are found in separate Legislative History volumes. The legislative history documents may be located in print or in microfiche in I.D.Weeks Library, 2nd Floor, Government Documents.


Compiled Legislative Histories Online (free): In the Search box, select All Legislation (1973 to present). Search by public law number (e.g. 112-139), "Popular Name" of an Act, or bill number ("hr5" or s7).  In the next screen, choose the relevant Law.  Under the LAW box, click on the hyperlinked bill number for the Bill Summary.

HeinOnline (law library database): Scroll to U.S. Federal Legislative History Library: Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories (see box in the middle column); United States Federal Legislative History Title Collection.

Lexis Advance (log in required): Source - Federal Legislative Bill Histories from 110th Congress (2009) to present.

WestlawNext (log in required):

  • Home>Statutes & Court Rules>Federal>United States Code Annotated>(right column) USCA Popular Name Table>click on hyperlinked Public Law Number> Tab: "Legislative History Materials"
  • Home>Legislative History>United States Code Congressional & Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.)
  • Home>Legislative History>(right column) Arnold & Porter Legislative Histories. Selected legislative histories.
  • Home>Legislative History>U.S. GAO Federal Legislative Histories (1921-1985)

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