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United States Bills & Laws


Bills at U.Va.


Law School

Alderman & Online
(Sometimes the online will be full text access, sometimes only indexing. 
VIRGO provides full text of many current Congressional publications.)

Bills - Y1.4/1-Y1.4/9

See UVA LibGuide on Bills & Laws and description of the legislative process, bill glossary, and key to legislative citations.

See also guide to Regulations Research

Microfiche: 1965 to present

Microfilm: 1789-1817  (1st - 14th Congresses)
   Senate Bills ( Micfilm S-1570)
   House Bills (Micfilm S-1571

Microfiche (request from Ivy)
1979 to present  - Y 1.4/1: - Y 1.4/9:

Other Microfilm holdings - please note:
The Center for Research Libraries  (CRL) has microfilm for congressional bills and resolutions from the 1st through the 72nd Congress (1789-1933). This microfilm and other congressional materials on film) may be borrowed by UVA users through UVA Library Interlibrary Services. 

Print-  Y1.4/1-Y1.4/9 - 3 New Stacks

Index only (useful for historical bills)
See Congressional Record, History of Bills and Resolutions section for desired session -- arranged by bill number for debates, summaries, floor action, etc.

Proquest Congressional: Bills & Resolutions - 1989-present – bill tracking, 1989-present
House Bills & Resolutions - 1799-1873
Senate Bills & Resolutions - 1819-1873 (Century of Lawmaking)

Finding Aids and Indexes to Bills

  • Index - 1979-2000 - Final cumulative finding aid, House and Senate bills - GP 3.28:[Cong] - Located on microfiche cases above the bills. Look up in the appropriate Congress volume for the bill number you need. You will be given a fiche number and a set of coordinates. A gride at the front of the volume will tell you where your bill is located on the fiche.
    1989 - present –
  • Online Sources
    1989 - present --
    1989 - present -- LexisNexis
    1993 - present --
    1999-present -- - independent bill tracking website
  • For bills between 1818 and 1964 the Congressional Record might contain the text of the bill. Sometimes conference reports, if there is one, will contain the text of a bill. You may also need to consult the National Archives for bills from this period.  
    Another possible source for the text of a difficult to find bill is a comprehensive Legislative History of the act.  For example, Legislative history of the Securities act of 1933 and Securities exchange act of 1934 ... Compiled by J. S. Ellenberger and Ellen P. Mahar.  11 v.  
  • Center for Research Libraries owns microfiche of many bills.  Search their catalog for "congress and united states and bills and resolutions." 
  • Several libraries own microfilm of bills from various time periods.
    The University of Washington owns:
    1789 – 1921 (incomplete), 1st – 66th Congress: Microfilm in GovPubs:
    House bills: Microfilm A1829   |     Senate bills: Microfilm A1830
  • The University of Arizona owns:
    Micro- fiche 1905-E
    Location Main Library (Microforms)
    LIB. HAS MAIN MICRO 1933-1974; 94th Congress (1975/1976)-100th Congress (1987/1988)
  • Other university libraries which own microfiche of earlier bills include:
    •  University of Iowa
    • Tulane Law - 1943-1979
    • University of Minnesota
    • University of Minnesota Law
    • University of San Francisco Law
    • University of Florida Law - 1963 - to the present

      NOTE: For interlibrary loan purposes the official title is Congressional bills, resolutions, and laws.

More Finding Aids:  Bills and Laws 

FDSys -- Indexes bills, laws, the U.S. Code, the Congressional Record,
 many  Congressional publications and much more. Updated daily.  -- One of the best indexes and full text sources for bills and laws. The Library of Congress has been getting older materials into
Proquest  Congressional --  Indexes and links to full text back to about 1989. Indexes Congressional materials back to 1789.
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). With the advent of LN, GPOAccess, and Thomas bill tracking became much easier. But, for many years CCH Congressional Index was the only game in town. NOTE: 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.