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Tutt Library Research Guides

EC110 Topics of Environmental Law: Legislative Process

How Laws are Made

To find information about a potential law, you have to understand how legislatures create them. A great resouces for this is The Legislative Process  on congress.gov 

For an example, look at Senate Bill #1111, refered to as S. 1111, and also know as the Beer Act. It was introduced on May 26, 2011 by Colorado Senator Mark Udall.  To get information about the bill, go to congress.gov and type "2011 s.1111" into the search box at the top of the page. 

In my search, the second result shows the Beer Act from the 112th Congress, which took place in 2011. The brief information shown gives you the sponsor, and commitees that considered the bill, and the legislative history including the latest action taken on the bill. Click on the bill number (s.1111) to see the full record. This bill died in committee, so the full record is not very interesting. Bills that go further through the process or that actually get signed into law have much more information shown in the full record about the bill's path through the Congress. Go back to the search box and enter "2005 s.55" to see the full record of a bill that became law.

Diagram of the Legislative Process

from congress.gov

Understanding Bill Citations

H.R. 203 = House Resolution #203, which is a bill introduced in the House. You would need the Congress number or the year to find this specific resolution.

S. 1111 = Senate Bill #1111. To find this bill you would also need the Congress number or the year.

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McKinley Sielaff
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Tutt Library, Colorado College      Research Help Desk: 719-389-6662, Texting: 719-387-5441, E-mail: tuttref@ColoradoCollege.edu