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Federal Legislative History  

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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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.



How Our Laws Are Made - This brochure is intended to provide a basic outline of the numerous steps of our federal lawmaking process from the source of an idea for a legislative proposal through its publication as a statute. The legislative process is a matter about which every person should be well informed in order to understand and appreciate the work of Congress.


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