Congress produces a variety of publications as a bill moves through the legislative process on its way to becoming a law. A compilation of these full text primary source publications produces a legislative history that is valuable to a wide variety of researchers. Legislative Insight offers a research citation page that not only links to the full text of the associated primary source publications, but allows the user to do a Search Within from that very page that searches the full text of all the associated publications with one-click.
Full-text publication types associated with a legislative history include the Public Law, all versions of enacted and related bills, Congressional Record excerpts, and committee hearings, reports, and documents. All of these publication types can be used in court to determine the intent of Congress in enacting legislation in cases where the statutory language is ambiguous. Other full-text publication types are included in our legislative histories to provide users with background material are committee prints, CRS reports, and miscellaneous congressional publications. Presidential signing statements are also included.
In addition to the inclusion of comprehensive federal legislative histories published by the U.S. GPO and private publishers, this library also includes a unique finding aid based on Nancy Johnson's award-winning work, Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories. Researchers should begin their U.S. federal legislative history research with this finding aid, which often includes references to law review articles on-point to a particular legislative history.
These legislative histories are selected from Internet sites that are freely available to the public. They were often prepared as U.S. Congressional committee prints and later digitized, such as most of those from Hathi Trust Digital Library. Other histories selected were prepared by certain Federal libraries or non-profit organizations. For recent decades additional links are also provided to the bill histories on Congress.gov established and maintained by the Library of Congress.