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Michigan State University

Finding and tracking federal bills and laws: Finding Laws

Finding Federal Laws

With... Using...
Popular name
eg. Brady Bill, USA Patriot Act
Shepard's acts and cases by popular names: federal and state
MSU Gov Docs Reference KF80 .S52
Bill number
eg. H.R. 133; S.133

Proquest Congressional (1989- )

  • Select "Public Laws" in the Select document type menu.
  • Select "Enacted Bill Number" and enter bill citation.

THOMAS 1989-present. Organized by congress.

Statutes at Large (Hein) Organized by congressional session.

  • The Statutes at Large provides the text of laws from 1789- but bill number searching is only available from 1963- .

Digest of Public General Bills GovDocs LC 14.6: 1936-1990.

  • Bill index only. Use cross-index to find citation to law.

Congressional Record Index Govdocs Non-Circulating Bill index only.

  • Use History of Bills and Resolutions section to find citation to law. [PL citation not always given]
Slip law citation
eg. P.L. 107-1

Proquest Congressional (1989- )

FdSys (Public and Private Laws) 1995-present.

Statutes at Large (Hein) 1789-present. Organized by congressional session.

U.S. Code citation
eg. 42 USC s.138 (1994)

Proquest Congressional (1989- )

U.S. Code KF61 .U5 Main Library Reference 

Subject/keyword and other information

Proquest Congressional and FdSys full-text keyword search of laws.

THOMAS (Bill Summary and Status) 1973-present. Search by combination of keyword, subject, sponsor/co-sponsor or stage in legislative process (eg. public law). Organized by congress.

Statutes at Large (Hein)

  • Keyword searching, as well as subject and popular name index. 1789-present. By congressional session.

Digest of Public General Bills GovDocs LC 14.6: 1936-1990.

  • Organized by congressional session. Indexes bills.
  • Use cross-index to find citation to law. Also: sponsor, co-sponsor, identical bill and short title indexes. Subject index not comprehensive.
  • Provides bill history and status also, including floor action, dates, roll call vote summary.

Congressional Record Index Govdocs Non-Circulating Organized by congressional session. Indexes bills.

  • Use History of Bills and Resolutions section to find citation to law.

Subject Guide

Michigan State University