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Federal Legislative History

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Legislative History is the official documentary record of the passage of a proposed statute - often involving multiple bills or resolutions - through the successive stages of the legislative process. At the federal level of government this process formally commences with the introduction of a measure in Congress by a Senator or Representative and unless terminating short of enactment, the most common outcome, concludes with a Presidential signing into law or veto. For major initiatives, however, the documentary record frequently begins before the introduction of a bill, perhaps with a background Congressional investigative study or committee hearing from a previous Congress or a draft of proposed legislation by the President.

Quicklinks

Credits

This guide was originally authored by Terry Swanlund, former Harvard Law School Library Reference Librarian.

Compiled Histories

Online

If you can't find a compiled legislative history, you can try creating one yourself.  You can try with a bill history/tracking service to get more information and references to follow up on the resulting documents.  See Bill tracking/bill history sources under Bills.

Print

Bills

Online

Print, Microfilm, and Microfiche

 

  • 1789-1933: (1st Congress - 72nd Congress). Film 936(Library of Congress Preservation Microfilming Program); available at Widener Government Documents Division in Lamont Library.  
  • 1933-1967: (73rd Congress - 89th Congress). Microfiche S 550.   CIS Congressional bills, resolutions and laws -  Widener Gov. Docs. (Lamont).  
  • 1965-1983: (89th Congress - 97th Congress). Mic US 201. CIS Congressional bills resolutions and laws -   Langdell Library microform room , Drawers 295-298 (This microfiche collection of bills is arranged in numerical order by Congress. No CIS No. is required as a finding aid.)
  • 1983-present: (98th Congress - present). Senate. House.  U.S. Government Printing Office Congressional bills and resolutions currently available from Thomson, 107th Congress, 2001 to date - Langdell microform room Mic J 50 U, Drawers 298-303. Since these bills and resolutions are disseminated in non-numerical order, the Superintendent of Documents microfiche user’s guide for Congressional House and Senate bills is required as a finding aid Mic Ref J 50 .S96x.

Secondary source commentary/news/magazines

Reports

Online

Full Text

  • 1789 - 1838 (1st Congress - 25th Congress)  American State Papers.  Contains various legislative and executive documents.
  • 1817 - 1994: (15th Congress - 98th Congress, 1st session). Archive of Americana
  • 1833 - 1917:  (23rd Congress - 64th Congress) U.S. Serial Set Selected Documents and Reports. American Memory
  • 1948 - present (80th Congress - 101st Congress)  U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News in Westlaw. "
  • 1990 - present: (101st Congress - present) LexisNexis
  • 1789 - presentProQuest Congressional
  • 1990 - present: (101st Congress - present) Westlaw
  • 1995 - present: (104th Congress - present) Thomas
  • 1995 - present: (104th Congress - present) FDsys

Print, Microfilm, and Microfiche

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  • (1789- 1969) CIS U. S. Congressional Serial Set- Mic KF 12 .U5a  - Drawers 467- 478. The retrospective CIS Serial Set microfiche collection contains the official full text of the numbered Congressional House and Senate Reports and Documents from 1817 to 1969, the House & Senate Journals from 1817 to 1952 and a small number of very old hearings. CIS has also added the American State Papers, a collection of topically arranged legislative and executive documents of Congress that date from 1789 to 1838 (also available electronically from the Library of Congress. The print version finding aid for the CIS Serial Set fiche is the  CIS U.S. Serial Set Index - Reference KF 40 .C66x 1975. Its “Finding List” section provides the Serial Set numbers (volume and serial) required to locate a specific document on the fiche. This bibliographic information can also be obtained online from ProQuest Congressional  by selecting the "Serial Set" box in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.
  • (1941 to present). United States Code, Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN) - KF 48 .W45. Originally entitled United States Code Service, bound cumulative annual volumes and monthly update pamphlets contain selected and often editorially shortened Congressional committee reports for enacted legislation. Includes Presidential signing statements, officially published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, since 1986. Always provide a parallel citation to the bound volume permanent edition of USCCAN if a committee report is reprinted therein - Bluebook rule 13.4(a). (An online version of USCCAN is available on Westlaw.)
  • (1970 to date; updated monthly) CIS microform (LexisNexis) - Mic KF 49 .C62 - Drawers 479-508 - . This microfiche service for Congressional publications contains reproductions of the official full text of all materials published by Congress except bills and resolutions and the Congressional Record. Included are House and Senate Reports and Documents, Senate Executive Documents (replaced by Treaty Documents in 1981), Senate Executive Reports, committee hearings and prints and the background papers and reports of the defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment. CIS also includes the publications of the Congressional Budget Office, many of which are also Hollis-catalogued, currently collected and held in print by Lamont Gov. Docs. and/or the Kennedy School of Government Library. Separate CBO maintained web sites, however, provide comprehensive and more convenient full-text PDF access to Publications dating from 1977 and to reported bill Cost Estimates since 1997.
    • CIS publications can be identified and located on the fiche by means of the separate index and abstract volumes of the CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress. Organized in terms of a system of unique document identification “accession numbers”, CIS Index (also updated monthly) is shelved at Reference KF 49 .C62. A complete search of its contents can be duplicated on Proquest Congressional by selecting: Date - 1970 to Present and all but the CRS Reports and Serial Set search boxes in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.
    • Most of the older official Congressional publications included in the 1970 to date CIS microform service, although seldom individually catalogued in HOLLIS (except for CBO materials), can also be found at Gov. Docs. (Lamont), directly distributed in paper or microform by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Individual Congressional publications, however, have been HOLLIS-catalogued since 1995 by Government Documents, where they may be available on fiche before appearing in CIS. Also the recent Gov. Docs. paper holdings generally circulate to Harvard users with Library borrowing privileges.
    • The pre-1970 full text coverage of official Congressional materials offered by CIS is provided by separate microfiche collections devoted to committee prints, published hearings, unpublished hearings, House and Senate Reports and Documents (the Serial Set) and Senate Executive Documents and Reports. The committee prints, published and unpublished hearings and Senate Executive Documents and Reports fiche are held only by Government Documents Lamont. The CIS Serial Set fiche collection is located only at Langdell. The corresponding print format indexes to these materials can be found at both Government Documents and Langdell, although updates to the unpublished hearings indexes are not held by the latter. The contents of the indexes are accessible online from the "Advanced Search" form choices in the "Congressional Publications" module of ProQuest Congressional.

Hearings

Online

Print/Microfilm

Online

    Full-Text

    • 1824 - presentProQuest Congressional
    • 1971 - present: Senate Judiciary Committee Supreme Court nomination hearings.  GPO Access
    • 1988 - present: LexisNexis (HEARNG) Varies: Contains selected transcripts of congressional
      hearings, individual written testimony of witnesses and detailed reports of
      select committee hearings.
    • 1993 - present: Selected from 1993 - 1996. Westlaw (USTESTIMONY)
    • 1985 - present: (99th Congress - present) FDsys
    • Committee web sites: Varies by committee.   Congressional Committee Web Sites - Committee (and subcommittee) Web sites generally provide lists of recent committee publications, schedules of pending committee meetings, hearings purpose statements and witness lists. They may also include bill markups, committee member markup statements and, most importantly, sometimes the most up to date access to either pre-publication versions of hearings testimony (full or partial transcripts) or PDF files of the official GPO transcripts. Some transcripts are searchable by witness name.  Thomas provides links to committee homepages and a GPO Access web site offers direct links to the hearings and other online publications of all standing Congressional committees, joint committees and Congressional commissions. Convenient links to these legislative materials and other committee information are also provided by the  Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C., Inc. and for House and Senate committees, respectively, by the Office of the House Clerk and GPO Access.

      Print, Microfilm, and Microfiche

      ---

      • (1970 to date; updated monthly) CIS microform (LexisNexis) - Mic KF 49 .C62 - Drawers 479-508 - . This microfiche service for Congressional publications contains reproductions of the official full text of all materials published by Congress except bills and resolutions and the Congressional Record. Included are House and Senate Reports and Documents, Senate Executive Documents (replaced by Treaty Documents in 1981), Senate Executive Reports, committee hearings and prints and the background papers and reports of the defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment. CIS also includes the publications of the Congressional Budget Office, many of which are also Hollis-catalogued, currently collected and held in print by Lamont Gov. Docs. and/or the Kennedy School of Government Library. Separate CBO maintained web sites, however, provide comprehensive and more convenient full-text PDF access to Publications dating from 1977 and to reported bill Cost Estimates since 1997.
        • CIS publications can be identified and located on the fiche by means of the separate index and abstract volumes of the CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress. Organized in terms of a system of unique document identification “accession numbers”, CIS Index (also updated monthly) is shelved at Reference KF 49 .C62. A complete search of its contents can be duplicated on LexisNexis Congressional by selecting: Date - 1970 to Present and all but the CRS Reports and Serial Set search boxes in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.
        • Most of the older official Congressional publications included in the 1970 to date CIS microform service, although seldom individually catalogued in HOLLIS (except for CBO materials), can also be found at Gov. Docs. (Lamont), directly distributed in paper or microform by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Individual Congressional publications, however, have been HOLLIS-catalogued since 1995 by Government Documents, where they may be available on fiche before appearing in CIS. Also the recent Gov. Docs. paper holdings generally circulate to Harvard users with Library borrowing privileges.
        • The pre-1970 full text coverage of official Congressional materials offered by CIS is provided by separate microfiche collections devoted to committee prints, published hearings, unpublished hearings, House and Senate Reports and Documents (the Serial Set) and Senate Executive Documents and Reports. The committee prints, published and unpublished hearings and Senate Executive Documents and Reports fiche are held only by Government Documents Lamont. The CIS Serial Set fiche collection is located only at Langdell. The corresponding print format indexes to these materials can be found at both Government Documents and Langdell, although updates to the unpublished hearings indexes are not held by the latter. The contents of the indexes are accessible online from the "Advanced Search" form choices in the "Congressional Publications" module of LexisNexis Congressional.

      Documents

      Online

      Print, Microfilm, and Microfiche

      ---

      • (1789- 1969) CIS U. S. Congressional Serial Set- Mic KF 12 .U5a  - Drawers 467- 478. The retrospective CIS Serial Set microfiche collection contains the official full text of the numbered Congressional House and Senate Reports and Documents from 1817 to 1969, the House & Senate Journals from 1817 to 1952 and a small number of very old hearings. CIS has also added the American State Papers, a collection of topically arranged legislative and executive documents of Congress that date from 1789 to 1838 (also available electronically from the Library of Congress). The print version finding aid for the CIS Serial Set fiche is the  CIS U.S. Serial Set Index - Reference KF 40 .C66x 1975. Its “Finding List” section provides the Serial Set numbers (volume and serial) required to locate a specific document on the fiche. This bibliographic information can also be obtained online from LexisNexis Congressional - LexisNexis owns CIS - by selecting the "Serial Set" box in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.
      • (1941 to present). United States Code, Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN) - KF 48 .W45. Originally entitled United States Code Service, bound cumulative annual volumes and monthly update pamphlets contain selected and often editorially shortened Congressional committee reports for enacted legislation. Includes Presidential signing statements, officially published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, since 1986. Always provide a parallel citation to the bound volume permanent edition of USCCAN if a committee report is reprinted therein - Bluebook rule 13.4(a). (An online version of USCCAN is available on Westlaw.)
      • (1970 to date; updated monthly) CIS microform (LexisNexis) - Mic KF 49 .C62 - Drawers 479-508 - . This microfiche service for Congressional publications contains reproductions of the official full text of all materials published by Congress except bills and resolutions and the Congressional Record. Included are House and Senate Reports and Documents, Senate Executive Documents (replaced by Treaty Documents in 1981), Senate Executive Reports, committee hearings and prints and the background papers and reports of the defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment. CIS also includes the publications of the Congressional Budget Office, many of which are also Hollis-catalogued, currently collected and held in print by Lamont Gov. Docs. and/or the Kennedy School of Government Library. Separate CBO maintained web sites, however, provide comprehensive and more convenient full-text PDF access to Publications dating from 1977 and to reported bill Cost Estimates since 1997.
        • CIS publications can be identified and located on the fiche by means of the separate index and abstract volumes of the CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress. Organized in terms of a system of unique document identification “accession numbers”, CIS Index (also updated monthly) is shelved at Reference KF 49 .C62. A complete search of its contents can be duplicated on LexisNexis Congressional by selecting: Date - 1970 to Present and all but the CRS Reports and Serial Set search boxes in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.
        • Most of the older official Congressional publications included in the 1970 to date CIS microform service, although seldom individually catalogued in HOLLIS (except for CBO materials), can also be found at Gov. Docs. (Lamont), directly distributed in paper or microform by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Individual Congressional publications, however, have been HOLLIS-catalogued since 1995 by Government Documents, where they may be available on fiche before appearing in CIS. Also the recent Gov. Docs. paper holdings generally circulate to Harvard users with Library borrowing privileges.
        • The pre-1970 full text coverage of official Congressional materials offered by CIS is provided by separate microfiche collections devoted to committee prints, published hearings, unpublished hearings, House and Senate Reports and Documents (the Serial Set) and Senate Executive Documents and Reports. The committee prints, published and unpublished hearings and Senate Executive Documents and Reports fiche are held only by Government Documents Lamont. The CIS Serial Set fiche collection is located only at Langdell. The corresponding print format indexes to these materials can be found at both Government Documents and Langdell, although updates to the unpublished hearings indexes are not held by the latter. The contents of the indexes are accessible online from the "Advanced Search" form choices in the "Congressional Publications" module of LexisNexis Congressional.

      Prints

      Online

      Print, Microfilm, and Microfiche

      ---

      • (1970 to date; updated monthly) CIS microform (LexisNexis) - Mic KF 49 .C62 - Drawers 479-508 - . This microfiche service for Congressional publications contains reproductions of the official full text of all materials published by Congress except bills and resolutions and the Congressional Record. Included are House and Senate Reports and Documents, Senate Executive Documents (replaced by Treaty Documents in 1981), Senate Executive Reports, committee hearings and prints and the background papers and reports of the defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment. CIS also includes the publications of the Congressional Budget Office, many of which are also Hollis-catalogued, currently collected and held in print by Lamont Gov. Docs. and/or the Kennedy School of Government Library. Separate CBO maintained web sites, however, provide comprehensive and more convenient full-text PDF access to Publications dating from 1977 and to reported bill Cost Estimates since 1997.
        • CIS publications can be identified and located on the fiche by means of the separate index and abstract volumes of the CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress. Organized in terms of a system of unique document identification “accession numbers”, CIS Index (also updated monthly) is shelved at Reference KF 49 .C62. A complete search of its contents can be duplicated on LexisNexis Congressional by selecting: Date - 1970 to Present and all but the CRS Reports and Serial Set search boxes in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.
        • Most of the older official Congressional publications included in the 1970 to date CIS microform service, although seldom individually catalogued in HOLLIS (except for CBO materials), can also be found at Gov. Docs. (Lamont), directly distributed in paper or microform by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Individual Congressional publications, however, have been HOLLIS-catalogued since 1995 by Government Documents, where they may be available on fiche before appearing in CIS. Also the recent Gov. Docs. paper holdings generally circulate to Harvard users with Library borrowing privileges.
        • The pre-1970 full text coverage of official Congressional materials offered by CIS is provided by separate microfiche collections devoted to committee prints, published hearings, unpublished hearings, House and Senate Reports and Documents (the Serial Set) and Senate Executive Documents and Reports. The committee prints, published and unpublished hearings and Senate Executive Documents and Reports fiche are held only by Government Documents Lamont. The CIS Serial Set fiche collection is located only at Langdell. The corresponding print format indexes to these materials can be found at both Government Documents and Langdell, although updates to the unpublished hearings indexes are not held by the latter. The contents of the indexes are accessible online from the "Advanced Search" form choices in the "Congressional Publications" module of LexisNexis Congressional.

      Congressional Record

      Online

      Print

      • Congressional Record - Daily edition - KF 35 .C7 - (Latest 12 months, approx., in Langdell Reading Room.) Comprised since 1967 of separately paginated sections - H (House), S (Senate), E (Extension of Remarks) and D (Daily Digest). Contains the floor debate on legislative proposals under Congressional consideration, the text of all floor amendments to bills and resolutions, occasionally the text of Senate bills and less frequently the text of House bills. Conference committee reports may also be included. The Daily edition is accompanied by a semi-monthly Index. Langdell also holds a microfiche copy of the daily edition of the Congressional Record - Mic KF 35 .C7a (Drawers 690-691) - beginning with the 99th Congress, 2nd session (1986). It is generally as up-to-date as the paper copy.
      • Permanent edition - Mic KF 35 .C6a - Microfilm covering the 43rd Congress (1873) to the 96th Congress, 1st session (1979) - vols. 1-125 - is located in Drawers 629-636. Microfiche coverage continues from vol. 126 - 96th Congress, 2nd session (1980) - to (at present) vol. 149 - 108th Congress, 1st2003) in Drawer 687. The slow to be published Permanent edition of the Congressional Record contains the rearranged contents of the Daily edition organized in a single numeric page sequence that integrates the daily chronology of House and Senate activities. It also includes an annual index for each session of Congress that is required for locating the Permanent edition pages of Record contents cited to the Daily edition unless Permanent edition volumes are available for direct searching online. Daily edition citations should always be converted into Permanent edition citations if the latter are available - Bluebook rule 13.5. A bound paper copy of the permanent edition index is shelved in the Reading Room at KF 35 .C7 Index. Consult the appropriate volumes of the microform copy of the Congressional Record itself for indexing covered by the scattered missing volumes of the Index.
      • The Congressional Globe - Covering the 23rd to the 42nd Congress, 1833-1873, this predecessor publication to the Record is shelved in the Reading Room at KF 35 .C7. Several volumes are missing.

      Congressional Globe

      Online

      Print

      • The Congressional Globe - Covering the 23rd to the 42nd Congress, 1833-1873, this predecessor publication to the Record is shelved in the Reading Room at KF 35 .C7. Several volumes are missing.

      Register of Debates

      Online

      Print

      • Lamont, The Register of Debates can be found at US Doc 502.
      • Widener, The Register of Debates can be found at US 82 .9).

      Annals of Congress

      Online

      Print

      • Annals of Congress is located at Gov. Docs. (Lamont) - US Doc 500

      Senate Executive Docs, Treaty Docs, and Reports

      Online

      • 1985 - present: 104th Congress to present, Senate Exec. Rpts. FDsys
      • 1987 - 2009: KAV Agreements HeinOnline
      • 1949-current: 81st-currrent, Senate Treaty Documents, HeinOnline
      • 1949/1950-present Treaty Docs Congress.gov

      Print

      • Senate Executive Documents (continued by Treaty Documents in 1981) which communicate either Presidential messages to the Senate concerning proposed treaties or Executive nominations for government positions and also Senate Executive Reports that document Senate committee action on treaties were not incorporated in the Serial Set until 1980. However, since  1970 these records have been available in the CIS microform service. (See entry immediately below). Earlier coverage, from 1818 to 1969 - that includes texts of confidential Indian treaties through 1870 - is provided by another CIS fiche collection: CIS Senate Executive Documents and Reports -  Microfiche W 5413 - located at Government Documents Lamont and accompanied by its own print index.
      • Online indexing but not full-text availability of the pre-1970 Executive Documents and Reports is provided via the "Advanced Search" form in the "Congressional Publications" module on LexisNexis Congressional. Since they are not included in the Serial Set, conduct a search for the bibliographic records of these pre-1970 materials by selecting the House and Senate Documents or Reports boxes, not the "Serial Set (1789-1969)" box. More about Senate Executive Documents, Treaty Documents and Senate Executive Reports.
      • CIS microform (LexisNexis) - Mic KF 49 .C62 - Drawers 479-508 - (1970 to date; updated monthly). This microfiche service for Congressional publications contains reproductions of the official full text of all materials published by Congress except bills and resolutions and the Congressional Record. Included are House and Senate Reports and Documents, Senate Executive Documents (replaced by Treaty Documents in 1981), Senate Executive Reports, committee hearings and prints and the background papers and reports of the defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment. CIS also includes the publications of the Congressional Budget Office, many of which are also Hollis-catalogued, currently collected and held in print by Lamont Gov. Docs. and/or the Kennedy School of Government Library. Separate CBO maintained web sites, however, provide comprehensive and more convenient full-text PDF access to Publications dating from 1977 and to reported bill Cost Estimates since 1997.

      More about Senate Executive Documents and Reports

      Senate Executive Documents - Prior to 1895 the designation "Senate Executive Documents" was applied to two largely distinct categories of Executive materials. Most noteworthy were the then confidential Presidential messages to the Senate concerned specifically with treaties and, less commonly, Executive nominations. The treaty communications, then as now, included not only arguments and information supporting favorable Senate action but also the full text of the proposed treaties. Nomination messages typically included only a listing of positions to be filled and the names of nominees. These documents were printed in very limited numbers, were not included in the Serial Set and hence were not widely accessible. Their confidential status was rescinded by the Senate in 1930 and much later, in 1970, they were first formally published as a component of the LexisNexis (CIS) microfiche service. Not until 1980, however, when they were finally incorporated in the Serial Set and added to the Federal Depository Library Program did they become generally available to the public. Two additional changes for materials in this category of Senate Executive Documents were introduced in 1981 when they were renamed "Treaty Documents" and the longstanding use of consecutive letters as the basis for citing individual documents within a Congress was replaced by a numerical sequence.
      The second category of Senate Executive Documents dealt with a wide range of often routine administrative subject matter that was communicated by executive department or agency reports rather than by Presidential message. A few treaty and nomination messages, however, were also included but like all documents in this second category these too were always both nonconfidential and available in the Serial Set. In 1895 the Senate Executive Documents category was dropped from the Serial Set and since then all Serial Set documents that previously would have been assigned to it, including the limited nonconfidential treaty and nomination materials, have been published simply as "Senate Documents".

      Senate Executive Reports - Recommendations of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in response to Presidential treaty ratification proposals are typically issued as "Senate Executive Reports" as are the recommendations of Senate committees concerning Executive nominations of candidates for positions in the federal government. Senate Executive Reports were treated as confidential until 1930, were initially published in 1970 by the LexisNexis (CIS) microfiche service but became generally available only in 1980 when they were incorporated in the Serial Set and first distributed through the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program. Unlike their Senate Executive Document counterparts, Senate Executive Reports were at no time divided into two categories, one nonconfidential and included in the Serial Set, the other confidential and not included.

       

      Using ProQuest Congressional & Readex to Locate Senate Executive Documents, Treaty Documents & Senate Executive Reports at Harvard

      American State Papers

      Print

      • CIS U. S. Congressional Serial Set- Mic KF 12 .U5a (1789- 1969) - Drawers 467- 478. The retrospective CIS Serial Set microfiche collection contains the official full text of the numbered Congressional House and Senate Reports and Documents from 1817 to 1969, the House & Senate Journals from 1817 to 1952 and a small number of very old hearings. CIS has also added the American State Papers, a collection of topically arranged legislative and executive documents of Congress that date from 1789 to 1838 (also available electronically from the Library of Congress). The print version finding aid for the CIS Serial Set fiche is the  CIS U.S. Serial Set Index - Reference KF 40 .C66x 1975. Its “Finding List” section provides the Serial Set numbers (volume and serial) required to locate a specific document on the fiche. This bibliographic information can also be obtained online from LexisNexis Congressional - LexisNexis owns CIS - by selecting the "Serial Set" box in the "Advanced Search" form of the "Congressional Publications" module.

      Compilation of Presidential Documents

      Print

      • Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents - (1965 to date). Includes Presidential Public Law signing statements and veto messages that may be helpful for construing legislative intent. Langdell maintains a current microfiche collection beginning in 1992 - Mic J 80 .A284a - Drawer 848 - and a print backfile from 1965 to 1977 - J 80 .A284. Since 1974 the contents of this publication have been fully incorporated in the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States - J 80 .A283 - (1929 to date - commencing with the Presidency of Herbert Hoover but excluding that of President Franklin Roosevelt) which should be cited if documents are included therein - Bluebook rule 14.7(b).
      • A more extensive collection of U.S. Presidential documents is maintained by Gov. Docs. Lamont.

      Additional readings/references

      Public Papers of the Presidents

      Online

      • 1929 - 2001: Herbert Hoover - George W. Bush, LLMC Digital
      • 1979 - present: Jimmy Carter - present, LexisNexis
      • 1991 - 2009: George H.W. Bush - Barack Obama, FDsys
      • Presidential Libraries: National Archives
      • Presidential documents from George Washington to George W. Bush: Presidential Library, Heinonline

      Print

      • Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States - J 80 .A283 - (1929 to date - commencing with the Presidency of Herbert Hoover but excluding that of President Franklin Roosevelt) which should be cited if documents are included therein - Bluebook rule 14.7(b).
      • A more extensive collection of U.S. Presidential documents is maintained by Gov. Docs. Lamont.

      CRS Reports

      Print

      • Congressional Research Service Reports - Although not formally a part of the official documentary legislative history record, these reports can be of value to researchers because they often provide analysis of key federal statutes or significant legislative proposals under consideration by Congress. CRS also frequently compiles official legislative histories for the statutes with which it has been concerned. CRS is prohibited from distributing its work directly to the public but an indexed microfilm collection encompassing most of the publically available reports has been published by University Publications of America (UPA). Its current title is Major Studies and Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service. Supplement - Microforms (Lamont) Film S 1564 - (1976 to date; annual updates since 1978). Reports in the collection dating from 1916 to 1974/75 are located under its previous title, Major Studies of the Legislative Reference Service/Congressional Research Service - Microforms (Lamont) Film S 1563. UPA's CD-ROM version of the collection, dating from 1916 to 1998, is available at Gov. Docs (Lamont) as well as at workstations in the Reading Rooms of Lamont and Littauer Libraries. Note that the individual CRS Reports comprising this source are not separately catalogued in HOLLIS.

      GAO Reports

      Online

      Print

      •  Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports - Although not included among the documents comprising the official legislative history of a federal statute, GAO Reports are nevertheless frequently consulted by researchers, particularly when they are the published record of GAO's contribution to the drafting of legislation or its review of a legislative proposal before Congress. Reports to Congress by the Comptroller General of the United States (1975 to date) is a major retrospective microfiche collection of these reports held by Gov. Docs. (Lamont) - Microfiche Su Doc GA 1.13 - that provides backup coverage through 1995 for the comprehensive PDF database of current and archived Reports available online from GAO. Note that in addition to retrieving records for GAO Reports held in microfiche (or print) by Gov. Docs., a HOLLIS catalog search may also return records of print copy holdings of GAO Reports selectively acquired by other Harvard libraries. All pre-1975 Reports held by Harvard libraries and recorded in the HOLLIS catalog are print copies.

      CBO Publications

      Print

      •  CIS microform (LexisNexis) - Mic KF 49 .C62 - Drawers 479-508 - (1970 to date; updated monthly). This microfiche service for Congressional publications contains reproductions of the official full text of all materials published by Congress except bills and resolutions and the Congressional Record. Included are House and Senate Reports and Documents, Senate Executive Documents (replaced by Treaty Documents in 1981), Senate Executive Reports, committee hearings and prints and the background papers and reports of the defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment. CIS publications of the Congressional Budget Office, many of which are also Hollis-catalogued, currently collected and held in print by Lamont Gov. Docs. and/or the Kennedy School of Government Library. Separate CBO maintained web sites, however, provide comprehensive and more convenient full-text PDF access to Publications dating from 1977 and to reported bill Cost Estimates since 1997. also includes the
      •  ProQuest Congressional - The "Congressional Publications" module of Congressional incorporates the bibliographic contents of the monthly updated print CIS indexes/abstracts that serve to identify full text official publications of Congress and to locate them in the accompanying CIS Index microfiche service. Full text links, when provided by this module, however, retrieve materials that duplicate the scope, content and format not of the microfiche but of databases, typically updated daily when Congress is in session, that are taken from LexisNexis, the owner of CIS. Specifically, the "Congressional Publications" module does not provide the complete 1970 to date retrospective coverage offered by the CIS fiche Publications of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the now defunct (1995) Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) are located in the "committee prints" database - where they can be exclusively retrieved by "Congressional source"- limited searches for their respective organization names.

      State Bills & Other Legislative Documents

      Online

      • Free Access Sources - Every state provides free, official legislative body website access to all full text bills from its current legislative session. Typically searchable by keyword as well as bill number, the bills are generally available as facsimile image file reproductions of the official print versions. Retrospective coverage of 10 years or more is not uncommon. Bill tracking reports are also generally provided. CQ StateTrack  offers multi-state, full text word or phrase (but not proximity) searching for the latest versions of bills and bill status reports from the current sessions of state legislatures. The search result list links it provides are to the official state web sites.
      • Other significant legislative history materials, such as hearings and committee reports, are still only sporadically available online, are frequently not widely disseminated in print and may not even exist in any full text, official form. Moreover, the legislative process and legislative history research can vary significantly from state to state. Helping to meet the challenge thus posed for legal researchers are the legislative history guides that have been produced for all states. They have been collected and made available in full text by: State Legislative History Research Guides on the Web, compiled by Jennifer Bryan, Documents Librarian at the Indiana University School of Law Library.
      • Useful sites affording direct and sometimes annotated links to bills, bill status reports and additional legislative information for all states include:
      • Commercial Sources - LexisNexis and Westlaw provide coverage of full text bills and bill tracking for all 50 states from 1996 to date and for selected states from 1990/91 to date. A major source for both is Information for Public Affairs, Inc. This coverage is also given by the E-Resource, LexisNexis State Capital, which allows individual, multiple or all-state keyword searching and template-based retrieval of bills and tracking reports by year and bill number citation.
      • Westlaw has assembled a collection of the growing array of state legislative history-relevant materials that for recent years can be gleaned from official state web sites. Covered but variably available from the 36 states and the District of Columbia currently included are voting records, committeee reports, legislative journals, Governor's signing messages and legislative transcripts of hearings and debates. These documents can be accessed via the State database.

      Print

      Print source guides to state legislative history research
      1. State Legislative Sourcebook: A Resource Guide to Legislative Information in the Fifty States; Lynn Hellebust (Government Research Service, published annually) - This comprehensive guide, covering print and online sources, provides a wide range of detailed, current information on the identification and acquisition of state legislative history materials. Sections for each state include "Legislative organization and process", Legislator information" and "Session information". State by state legislative bill status and bill room telephone numbers are also listed.
      2. Guide to State Legislative and Administrative Materials;  Included in this useful guide is state by state information regarding the availability of current and historical print and electronic format legislation and legislative history documents. Also provided are addresses, phone numbers, E-mail addresses and URLs for assistance in locating and obtaining, sometimes for a fee, legislative documents and bill status information not widely available in libraries or online.

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