Find Legislative Histories

Getting Started, Exploring Topics

Congressional Quarterly Almanac
Location: REF JK 1 .C66 Coverage: 1969-present
CQ Weekly Report
Location: REF JK 1 .C15 Coverage: current year Browse the index for topics. Articles will provide bill numbers and public law numbers as well as background information on the topic.
Congress and the Nation
Location: REF KF 49 .C65 Coverage: 1945-1992 Provides five-year summaries of the CQ Almanac.
eLocation: Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
Describes Federal programs and services (e.g., Head Start) which provide assistance to the public. You can find in the description the number of the public law authorizing the program. Find the Bill History

The bill history is a chronological listing of all legislative activity for the bill.

For pending or recently passed bills, use:

Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: Online access to the CIS Index (described above); full text of congressional reports, documents, prints, bills, and the Congressional Record; congressional testimony, bill tracking reports that follow bills through Congress; public laws and the U.S. Code; The Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations; biographical and financial information and voting records of members of Congress; committee rosters, charters and schedules; full text articles from National Journal and Congress Daily, full text news articles on hot topics, and links to related web sites.
Congressional Index
eLocation: Chase Law Library-- KF 49. C6 Coverage: current Congress This is the first print source in which you can find new laws or pending bills.

For laws approved 1995-present, use:

eLocation: Thomas
Use the "Major legislation - enacted into law" files for recent Congresses; read the summaries to choose a law. Then check CIS Annual: Legislative Histories.

For laws approved 1988-present, use:

Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: Online access to the CIS Index (described above); full text of congressional reports, documents, prints, bills, and the Congressional Record; congressional testimony, bill tracking reports that follow bills through Congress; public laws and the U.S. Code; The Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations; biographical and financial information and voting records of members of Congress; committee rosters, charters and schedules; full text articles from National Journal and Congress Daily, full text news articles on hot topics, and links to related web sites. Select "Laws" to search the full text of public laws and to find legislative histories.

For laws approved 1984-present, use:

CIS Annual: Legislative Histories of U.S. Public Laws
eLocation: Reference -- Index Tables Coverage: 1984-present Use the index to identify a public law number; follow that to the legislative history. This volume will identify any primary source documents related to the law in question -- hearings, floor debates, Congressional committee reports, executive documents, etc.
Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: 1970-present CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories.

For laws approved between 1970-1983, use:

CIS Annual: Index
Location: Reference--Index Tables Coverage: 1970-present Comprehensive index to Congressional publications: hearings, reports, and prints.
Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: 1970-present CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories.

For bills that were not passed into law, try:

Congressional Index
Location: Chase Law Library Coverage: 1961-present Use the "Status of House Bills" or "Status of Senate Bills" section.
Congressional Quarterly Almanac
Location: REF JK 1 .C66 Coverage: 1969-present
eLocation: History of Bills Online via GPO Access
Coverage: 1983-present Provides a list of actions taken on all bills and resolutions, with date and page numbers for the Congressional Record.
eLocation: Thomas
Coverage: 1973- Use the "Bill Summary and Status" files to locate detailed listing of dates and actions taken.

Find a Copy of the Public Law

Laws are bills or resolutions that have passed both the House and the Senate in the same form and have been signed by the President (or re-passed by Congress over a Presidential veto). Laws are for public purposes (Public Laws) or private individuals (Private Laws).

U.S. Statutes at Large
Location: pre-1962 -- Chase KF 50 .U55 Location: 1962-83 -- Gov Doc GS 4.111: Location: 1984-94 -- Gov Doc AE 2.111: Annual compilation of Public Laws, arranged in chronological order. At the end of each Congress, new laws are integrated into existing law in the U.S. Code, which is organized by topic.
Public Laws (Current)
Location: 1995-present Coverage: Gov Doc AE 2.110:
Private Laws
Location: Gov Doc AE 2.110/2: Also called slip laws. This is the form in which new laws are first published. Slip laws, issued since 1789 (the 1st Congress), are chronologically numbered by Congress. During each Congress, each law gets an individual (sequential) number, e.g. P.L. 100-713 (Public Law 713 of the 100th Congress).
Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: 1988-present CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories.
eLocation: Public Laws via GPO Access
Coverage: 1995/104th Congress - present The official electronic version.
eLocation: Public Laws via Thomas
Coverage: 1973 - present Full text of public laws begins: 104th Congress; full text of bills begins: 103rd Congress. Thomas is currently the first source of a new law. For earlier years, laws are identified but not available in full text.
U.S. Code
Location: Gov Doc Y1.2/5:994 The law of the United States, as of January 5, 1995. The U.S. Code is published every six years. At the end of each Congress, new laws are integrated into existing law in the Code, which is organized by topic.
Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: 1970-present CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories.
eLocation: U.S. Code via GPO Access
United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.)
Location: Chase KF 62 1927 .W45 Annotations include relevant court cases.

Find a Copy of the Bill

Bill numbers (H.R. and S.) can be found in the Public Law, or through CIS Index or CQ Almanac/Weekly Reports. House and Senate bills are available on microfiche in the Government Documents area, 3rd floor, filed by SuDocs number. The CIS Index will provide the SuDocs number. About Bills and Resolutions: All pieces of legislation are given a letter prefix and a number when introduced into the legislative process. Prefixes begin with "H" for House proposed bills or "S" for Senate proposed bills. "Res" is for Resolutions and there are Senate, House, and Joint (Senate and House) Resolutions. Numbers are consecutive throughout the 2 years a congress is in session. Each piece of proposed legislation retains its number through each session of congress. If not passed into law, the bill or resolution dies with the closure of that Congress.

Congressional Index
Location: Chase KF 49. C6 Coverage: current Congress This is the first print source in which you can find new laws or pending bills.
Bills
Location: Gov Doc Microfiche cabinets, Senate-Y1.4/1:, House-Y1.4/6: Bills (H.R. or S.) comprise the majority of legislation introduced in Congress. To become a law a bill must be passed by both chambers and signed by the President during the same session.
Bills via Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: 1989-present CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories. Full text of Bills.
eLocation: Bills via GPO Access
Coverage: 1993 - present The official version.
eLocation: Bills via Thomas
Coverage: 1973 - present Search the "Bill Text" files for bills 1989-present. Search in "Previous Congresses" to identify bills back to 1973.
Bill numbers
(H.R. and S.) can also be found through CIS Index, CQ Almanac/Weekly Reports, and other sources. House and Senate bills are available on microfiche in the Government Documents area, 3rd floor, filed by SuDocs number. The CIS Index will provide the SuDocs number.
Resolutions
Location: Gov Doc Microfiche cabinets, Senate-Y1.4/3:, House-Y1.4/8: (H.J. Res. or S.J. Res.) Generally deal with a single issue. They require passage in both chambers and the President's signature, and have the same force as a law.
Concurrent Resolutions
Location: Gov Doc Microfiche cabinets, Senate-Y1.4/4:, House-Y1.4/9: (H.Con.Res. or S.Con.Res.) Used for matters affecting the operations of both chambers of Congress. Concurrent Resolutions must pass through both the House and the Senate in the same form.

Committee Hearings and Reports

Hearings
Location: Gov Doc Microfiche cabinets, Y4., in order by committee Contain the testimony committees hear on bills under consideration.
Testimony via Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login Coverage: 1988-present CIS indexing and abstracting of congressional publications and the CIS Legislative Histories.
Committee Prints
Location: Gov Doc Microfiche cabinets, Y4., in order by committee Topical reports put together by a subcommittee when a particular issue needs to be explored or the impact of a bill needs to be determined.
Reports
Location: Chase microfiche, Senate-Y1.1/5:, House-Y1.1/8: Written on bills recommended for passage by the committee. The reports are given sequential numbers. For example: H.Rept. 99-162 or S.Rept. 101-14.
eLocation: Senate, House and Executive Reports via GPO Access
Coverage: 1995 - present Provides the full text of selected reports.
eLocation: Committee Reports via Thomas
Coverage: 1995 - present
CIS Annual
Location: Reference--Index Tables Coverage: 1970 - present *Index -- Use the subject or title index to identify congressional publications. The index provides a number Referring you to the Abstracts volume. *Abstracts -- Information about the publications, including SuDocs numbers, with which you can locate available documents in the library.
The Home Pages for the House and Senate Committees
eLocation: House Committee eLocation: Senate Committee Congressional Debate on the Bill
Congressional Record
Location: (1873-1992) Gov Doc microfiche Location: (1983- present) Gov Doc X 1.1/A: Floor debates are printed here. There is a separate index.
Congressional Record via Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Coverage: 1985 - present
eLocation: Congressional Record via GPO Access
Coverage: 1994 - present
eLocation: Congressional Record Index via GPO Access
Coverage: 1983 - present
eLocation: Congressional Record via Thomas
Coverage: 1995 - present Use the Congressional Record Index files or the Congressional Record Text files. President's Statement Upon Signing the Bill
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
Location: (current year) Gov Doc AE 2.109 Location: (1965-1996) Gov Docs microfilm
eLocation: Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents via GPO Access
Coverage: 1996 - present Provides texts of presidential speeches, press conferences, and other documents.
Public Papers of the Presidents
Location: (1984 - present) Gov Doc AE 2.114: Location: (1929-1983) Gov Doc GS 4.113) A compilation of the above Presidential documents Regulations Resulting from the Public Law

Regulations for existing programs:

Code of Federal Regulations
Location: Gov Doc AE 2.106/3: Coverage: current year
eLocation: Code of Federal Regulations via GPO Access
Current annual compilation of existing agency regulations.

Regulations for new programs OR programs which have ceased:

Federal Register
Location: (current year) Gov Doc AE 2:106 Location: 1960-1984 mf Location: 1985-1997 mic
Federal Register via Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Coverage: 1980 - present
eLocation: Federal Register via GPO Access
Coverage: 1994 - present Daily announcement of proposed and new regulations Additional Publications Related to Your Topic
Academic Search Premier
Access: Available off campus with password. Coverage: 1990-present. Provides full text for over 1,200 journals covering the social sciences, humanities, general science, multi-cultural studies, education, and other subjects.
LexisNexis Academic
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: most recent 20 years Full-text articles from major newspapers, international news sources, broadcast news transcripts, popular and news magazines, and major trade journals. Strong coverage of current events and business news. The "Company Financial" section includes annual reports back to 1984, current company information from the Disclosure database, Hoover's Company Reports, EDGAR filings, stock reports, and more. Also provides access to Medline, health news, accounting and tax sources, and legal resources. The "Legal Research" section includes federal and state court cases, full-text law review articles and legal news sources, the Constitution, the Code of Federal Regulations, the U.S. Code and state codes, and federal and state case law.
Lexis-Nexis CIS Publications
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: Online access to the CIS Index; full text of congressional reports, documents, prints, bills, and the Congressional Record; congressional testimony, bill tracking reports that follow bills through Congress; Public Laws and the U.S. Code; The Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations; biographical and financial information and voting records of members of Congress; committee rosters, charters and schedules; full text articles from National Journal and Congress Daily, full text news articles on hot topics, and links to related web sites.
eLocation: LegalTrac
Access: Restricted to NKU campus. Coverage: 1980 to the present; updated monthly. Provides citations to articles published in law reviews and legal newspapers.
eLocation: Marcive Web Docs - Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
Access: Restricted to NKU campus. Coverage: 1976-present. Updated monthly. This is an index to selected U.S. government publications. Provides direct links to government documents available on the Web.
NewsBank NewsFile
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: 1991-present Index to full-text newspaper articles, from local and regional papers and newswires across the U.S.
Newspaper Source
Access: Available off campus with NKU login. Coverage: Updated daily. Provides selected full text articles from 143 U.S. and international newspapers.
P.A.I.S. (Public Affairs Information Service)
Access: Restricted to Reference Area. See a librarian. Coverage: 1972-present Location: Reference index shelves. Access: Non-circulating, print. Coverage: 1960-present. Indexes literature on public policy, social policy, and the social sciences in general. Indexes journal articles, books, government documents, statistical compilations, committee reports, directories, serials, reports of public intergovernmental and private organizations from all over the world.

More Internet Sites

eLocation: AllPolitics
Political news from CNN/Time
eLocation: C-SPAN
eLocation: Documents in the News
Links to government documents related to current news stories.
eLocation: Project Vote Smart
The "Research the Issues" page provides numerous links to web sites related to current issues. Also links to political parties, candidates, think tanks, and much more.

Steely Library phone number:  859.572.5457