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Legislative History (Federal & State): Bills

A guide to finding state and federal legislative documents and performing legislative history research.

Bill Tracking & Bill Summaries

Bill Tracking information can include: sponsor(s); cosponsor(s); official, short and popular titles, floor/executive actions, Congressional Record page references, summary of the bill's language, committee information, amendment information, and subject matter of the bill.

Bill Summaries are included with every bill on Congress.gov located in the first tab.

From Congress.gov:  

Upon introduction of a bill or resolution in the House or Senate, legislative analysts in the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress write a short summary that objectively describes the measure's significant provisions. Introduced version summaries are subject to length limitations as a matter of policy.

Each summary description identifies the date and version of the measure, and indicates whether there have been amendments: e.g., Passed House amended (07/19/2013).

News: Top Ten Bills

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What is a bill?

 A bill is a draft of a proposed law introduced in the House of Representatives or the Senate. If passed by Congress and signed by the President, a bill becomes law and is then called an Act or statute.

Finding a bill by citation

Bills are numbered sequentially as introduced in each chamber during a session of congress.  The bill number alone is meaningless unless you also know what congress it came from.

H.R. for House bills, H. Res. for House Resolutions, S. for Senate bills, etc.

Example:   H.R.5 [114th] Student Success Act

Resources for finding bills

Congress.gov

Use the search box to search Congress.gov, the official website for U.S. federal legislative information.  Search by keyword phrase (using quotation marks) or by bill number.  Default searches only legislation of the current Congress, use dropdown menu to search all legislation.