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Federal Legislative History Guide: Home

Legislative history refers to the documents that are produced by Congress as a bill is introduced, studied and debated. These documents are reviewed to determine intent or clarify vague language. Legislative documents are only persuasive legal authority.

Federal legislative histories are documents to a specific U.S. public law that generally precede the law’s enactment. These documents include committee reports, debates, various versions of bills, amendments, special studies and hearings.

Legislative Process

What about Treaty Ratification?

Where to begin.... Get that Public Law # !

BEST Sources for Legis History--Committee & Conf. Reports

What about versions of the Bill?

Bills-- compare versions for possible intent

What about Congressional Debates?

2 versions --Daily Record has page #'s that begin with S (Senate), H (House), E (Extension of Remarks) and D (Daily Digest); Bound edition is published about every 4 years... and page #'s do NOT correspond to Daily Record

Understanding Research -- NUTSHELLS!