Finding Bills and Public Laws

Bills (U.S. Congress)


Thomas.  Thomas provides full text of multiple versions of bills. Additional information includes sponsors, related bills, and final status. This information (but not the full text of bills) is also provided for 1973-1988 (93rd-100th).   Use advanced search for past sessions.

Proquest (LexisNexis) Congressional (GALILEO).  Provides multiple versions. Search in: Legislative Histories, Bills & Laws section

1973 - 1989

House and Senate Bills on microfiche arranged by Congress, 93rd-106th (1973/1974-1999/2000).  (2nd floor MFC J84 Y1.4/nos)

93rd-95th was compiled by the Congressional Information Service (CIS) but are filed in the Superintendant of Documents fiche cabinets at the call number above.
96th-106th was compiled by the Superintendant of Documents (SuDoc). In some cases includes multiple versions.


93rd-95th: CIS fiche headers are labeled adequately to find the bills without help of an index.
96th-106th: Final Cumulative Finding Aid, House and Senate Bills. (Main Ref, Index table 6)


UGA Libraries does not possess a complete collection of pre-1973 congressional bills.  However, the text of shorter bills and amendments is sometimes printed along with the related testimony in Congressional hearings volumes.  These are likely to be the version first introduced. The text of bills is sometimes also reproduced in committee reports (Serial Set) which present analysis and recommendations regarding specific legislation to the full chamber or Congress as a whole.  Sometimes the bill given is a substitute bill.

Digest of public general bills and resolutions, 1937-1990 (J84 LC 14.6) 
Determine sponsors, committee assignment, and final status of bills introduced in each session of Congress.

Congressional hearings, 1824-  Bill inclusion seems to be fairly common in hearings from the 20th century.

Searching: Proquest (LexisNexis) Congressional (GALILEO) in Congressional Publications section / Search by Number tab: Select "Find Congressional Publications related to a bill or law."  This method assumes you know the Congress number and the bill number you are looking for, e.g., 92nd & H.R. 12308 or  76th & H.R. 7424. 

In the search results for hearing(s) 1969- the abstract will state if the bill text has been reproduced and give a page reference. For earlier hearings the abstract only states what bill(s) the hearing is associated with--you must find and look in the hearing to know for sure: In either case write down the SuDoc number of the hearing, add a "J84" in front of this number to form the call number (e.g., J84 Y4.M59/1: T25/2 1940), and proceed to the Government Documents collection in the Main Library. Be prepared to check both print and microfiche.  NOTE: The UGA Libraries do not have all "published" hearings. The nearest location for "unpublished" hearings is Emory.

Serial Set committee reports, 1817-  Worth checking from the late 19th through mid 20th century.  May also be useful for other periods. 

Searching: U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 full text (GALILEO).  Use Bill Number search or Advanced Search.  Include the Congress number (e.g., 54) and a particular bill number (e.g., H.R. 10294).  The bill might be reproduced in the context of the report or in an untitled appendix to the report.  The bill text might be a substitute rather than the version originally introduced.

Alternative search method: Proquest (LexisNexis) Congressional as above to "Find Congressional Publications related to a bill or law."  Look in search results for report numbers with “H. Rpt.” or “S. Rpt.” or similar prefixes.  Then find the report(s) online in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994, or, using the Serial – vol – no preceded by "J84" (e.g., J84 3556), find the printed Serial Set volume containing that report number. Leaf through the volume to find the header page of the report.

Public Laws (U.S.)

FDsys (Government Printing Office), 1995- 
Browse public laws by year and public law numerical order.

United States Statutes at Large:
1789- (HeinOnline)
1873-  (Main Ref J84: S 7.9:)
1951~ (FDsys)
Annual volume(s) includes the text of public laws and other statutory documents such as executive orders issued during that year. Index and table of contents included. Note: recent unbound "slip laws" for one or more years are shelved with the print edition of Statutes at Large until cumulative annual volumes covering a given year are received.  Release of the annual volumes usually lags two or more years.

Proquest (formerly LexisNexis) Congressional, 1988-  
Under Legislative Histories, Bills & Laws: Search by keyword and limit by Congress.  Retrieve a document by public law number or Statutes at Large citation.

LexisNexis Academic, 1988- 
Under US Legal / Federal Statutes, Codes & Regulations: Select Public Laws. Search by citation or keyword.

Last Update: 13 Jul 10:17 | Tagged with: legislation bills acts resolutions public laws