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United States Bills & Laws

Laws

See also Popular Names of Acts in the U.S. Code

Slip Laws -- AE 2.110: & GS 4.110:
1989 - present --
Thomas
1995 -- present -- GPOAccess
Slip laws are printed when the law is passed by Congress and signed by the President. Slip laws are cataloged individually in VIRGO. They are filed by public law number, eg. P.L. 108-14 -- AE 2.110:108-14.

Statutes at Large -- AE 2.111: (earlier GS 4.111: and S 7.9:*) -- West Wall, Government Information Reading Rm As of 2019 these are housed in Ivy stacks and can be requested through Virgo.  They will be returning to the Main Library when renovations are completed.
Statutes at Large is a compilation of all the laws ever passed by the Congress. They are issued by year and contain an annual index. There are two cumulative indexes, 1789-1873 and 1873-1907. Check in the microfiche edition (S 7.9: if you don't find the citation you need in the paper edition. Statutes at Large citations are to volume number and page number, "106 Stat. 343."

Statutes at Large is also available in full text from Hein Online. Titles of laws are keyword searchable. They are working of full text searchablity.
Selected Statutes at Large are also available from the
Library of Congress Century of Lawmaking web site.

 

United States Code -- Y 1.2/5: -- Current edition, West Wall, Government Information Reading Room As of 2019 these are housed in Ivy stacks and can be requested through Virgo.  They will be returning to the Main Library when renovations are completed.
Older Editions - Ivy Stacks
1994- present editions --
GPOAccess
US Code - from Cornell Law School
Earlier editions may be available under Y 4.J 89/1:UN 3/3/ or at the Law School Library.
Compilation of all currently effective U.S. laws. Fifty broad subject areas called "titles" are subdivided into chapters, sections, and parts. Each section of the Code gives a bit of historical information on the law, including the Public Law number, Statutes at Large citation, and date of enactment, and any amendments. there is a Popular Name Index (e.e. the Clean Water Act), which gives the legislative background on each law, including amendments. The 1994 Popular Name Index is much more detailed than the 2000 one and is kept in the Government Information Reading Room with the current U.S. Code. There is also a general subject index though the Popular name Index is often easier to use.

Finding Aids and Indexes to Bills and Laws

GovInfo.gov -- Full text for many bills, laws, the U.S. Code, the Congressional Record, many Congressional publications and much more. Updated daily.  Coverage is spotty before 1994.

Congress.gov
One of the best indexes and full text sources for bills and laws. Materials go back to the 83rd Congress (1951-52).  

ProQuest Congressional

Information by and about the U.S. Congress: documents and reports, Legislative Histories, hearings, and members and committees. Search the Congressional Record, Federal Register, Federal Regulations, The Hill, and Roll Call. Formerly LexisNexis Congressional.

 

CCH (Commerce Clearing House) Congressional Index -- Law Library, Reference
1947 -- present


For bills prior to about 1989 (when LN and Thomas begin) this is the best place to establish the status of your bill. The bills of the two houses of Congress are listed in separate volumes, but the subject index for both houses is contained in the Senate volume. Be sure to consult each of three updates -- Latest, Current, and the main section.
To look up a bill:
Subject Index (Senate volume) -- identify the bill you want to follow
Bills (House or Senate volume) -- determine what committee the bill was sent to
Status of Bills -- determine the bill's status

If the bill does not appear in the Status of Bills section it indicates that the bill is still incommittee and that no hearings have been scheduled for it. This could also indicate that the bill has been incorporated into another bill (an omnibus budget act, for instance).
For many years CCH Congressional Index was the only game in town. It can still be helpful for tracking very complex relationships between what was introduced and what passed, particularly for the period between 1947 and 1989.