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Federal Legislative History: Home

A quick and basic guide to finding documents related to the passage of any given federal legislation.

Database Access

Many resources listed in this guide require FAMU College of Law or FAMU (main campus) IP addresses for access. Other resources, such as Westlaw and Lexis, require individual user accounts and passwords. Students and faculty may access cetain databases while off-campus by logging into the proxy server on the main library home page.

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Disclaimer and Warning


The information and links provided in this guide are not intended to provide legal advice.  The FAMU College of Law Library offers no assurance or guarantee the information provided is accurate or current.


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This guide’s purpose is to aid law students and practitioners in researching Federal legislative history materials, such as committee reports, floor debates and introduced bills. The subjects/keywords and call numbers are hyperlinked to the library’s catalog. Please remember that this guide is not an exhaustive list of materials or resources.


The Tabs across the top of the page are in reverse chronological order of creation. The earliest mention of a law will be as a bill when it is introduced in either the House or Senate. Then the bill will be assigned to a House or Senate Standing Committee. If the Committee passes the bill it is introduced on the floor of the House or Senate for further debate or a vote. Then, if passed, the bill is sent to the President to be signed into law or vetoed. If the bill becomes law it will be published as a Public Law. And if the law is of interest to someone, a Legislative History may then be compiled and published.


For an in-depth examination of the legislative process see Sullivan, J. V, & Brady, R. A. (2007). How our laws are made. Rev. and updated / Washington: U.S. G.P.O., available in HTML and PDF versions through the Library of Congress.

Flowchart of a bill's passage into law

by Andrew J. Tig Wartluft

Guide content provided courtesy of the Westminster Law Library at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.