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Legislative Histories, 1969-



The Legislative Histories are electronic and print indexes that allow researchers to follow the evolution of a law from its inception through its arrival on the President’s desk. The laws chosen by CIS for inclusion in the legislative histories include all public laws except those of a predominately ceremonial or housekeeping nature. Private laws are not included and those public laws which deal with only a small number of individuals as individuals (and not as a class), such as the appointment of citizens to various governing bodies, are also excluded.  Pickler Memorial Library does not have access to legislative histories prior to 1969.

How to search the collection

The best index to use to find a legislative history is the ProQuest Congressional index.  They may also be found in the print CIS Annual/CIS Legislative Histories 1970-1998 (Reference KF 49 C62)

1. Click on this link to go to the section in ProQuest Congressional for Legislative Histories.

2. Type in the keywords that you want to search.  The results will give you a list of hearings, reports, and documents related to the terms, including legislative histories.  Under Narrow Results By on the bottom right-hand side, click on Legislative Histories.  This will limit your search results to legislative histories; click on the one most closely related to the law or topic you are looking for.  If you end up with too many  legislative histories to look through, type in more specific keywords in the search box and repeat the process.

Public Law numbers consist of three parts: (1) the letters “PL”, designating a Public Law; (2) a number indicating the Congress which enacted the law; and (3) a number indicating the sequence of enactment. For example, PL 101-15 is the 15th public law encted by the 101st Congress.

3. For each Public Law, the Legislative Histories  give you references for the reports and  hearings that went on to shape the law.  Some legislative histories give references for: Debates from the Congressional Record; Reports; Hearings; Committee Prints; U.S. Serial Set ; and references to the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents.


ProQuest Congressional

CIS Annual/CIS Legislative Histories 1970-1998 (Reference KF 49 C62)

Pre-1969 Legislation

Although legislative histories are not available for legislation prior to 1969, several resources are available for finding the materials related to this legislation  These include:

ProQuest Congressional Do a keyword search for Congressional Publications as described above. This will bring up records of prints, hearings, and documents  related to the legislation but there will be no llegislative history.  Use the titles, descriptions, and PL numbers to determine which documents apply to the legislation.


For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

Legislative Histories United States

Time Period: 20th Century  

Subject keywords: Congressional Papers, Law