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U.S. Federal Legislative Information: Laws & Statutes

Finding bills, laws, congressional debate, voting records, hearings and more

Laws and Statutes

Laws are the final, enacted version of bills.

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 Consulting Reference, 1 East, KF80 .S5
Bill number
eg. H.R. 133; S.133

Proquest Congressional (1789-Present)

Congress.gov 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 

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

Congressional Record Index

  • 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 (1789-Present)

GovInfo.gov (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 (1789-Present)

U.S. Code KF61 .U5 Main Library Consulting Reference, 1 East

Subject/keyword and other information

Proquest Congressional and Govinfo.gov full-text keyword search of laws.

Congress.gov (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 

  • 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 Organized by congressional session. Indexes bills.

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