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This guide was originally created by Caitlin Hunter in 2018 and is regularly updated by the library staff.
What is a Legislative History and How Do I Get One?
As a bill passes through Congress it can generate hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of reports, debates, hearings, and other materials.
Compiling a legislative history means collecting all of those materials or, better yet, finding someone who's already done it for you.
For a quick start:
Find the Public Law number
Find the Public Law number of the statute's enactment or the amendment that interests you.
Retrieve a compiled legislative history
Usually, someone has already done the work for you and once you have the Public Law number you can quickly retrieve an already compiled legislative history.
Use what you've found
Once you've found the history, you'll still need to sort through hundreds or even thousands of pages of conflicting statements. Fortunately, there are guides to help you.
For more strategies and information:
State Legislative Histories
Researching the history of a California statute? Please see:
Researching the history of a statute from another state? Please see: