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Federal Government Resources: Tracing and Legislative Histories

Help locating what Tutt Library houses along with selected internet resources.

See guide

Congressional documents @ Tutt Library

Dating from 1789:

  • summaries of bills,
  • House and Senate documents and reports,
  • Public Laws, 1789-
  • many Congressional Committee Hearing, 1965-
    • After 1993, hearings were received in microfiche
    • also have electronic access (via Congressional Universe)

Other Congressional publications maybe available on the Internet.


Legislative history refers to

- the progress of a bill through the legislative process
- documents that are created during that process:

  • explain why Congress enacted a particular law
  • aid in the interpretation of a law.

The components (in order of importance):

  • committee reports,
  • bills and their amendments,
  • sponsor remarks, and
  • committee hearings.


For information about a particular bill or law (ex. bill numbers and/or the public law number), find as much background information about the legislation as possible, including what it does and the pros and cons of the legislation:

  • Discusses background research 
    • by support organizations, hearings, committee reports, debate, voting, bills, resolutions, the budget process, and treaties.