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Michigan State University

U.S. Federal Legislative Information: Bill Tracking/Legislative Histories

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

Bill Tracking

After being introduced in the House or Senate, a bill is assigned to a House and/or Senate committee or subcommittee for consideration and further action.

What is a legislative history? Why compile one? A legislative history is a compilation of legislative documents associated with the passage of a bill from the time it is introduced in Congress until its enactment. It can include the original bill or related bills and any amendments, committee prints, hearings, reports, documents, floor debate in Congress and presidential messages. A legislative history traces the intent and purpose behind a law.

Published Legislative Histories

Legislative histories are sometimes published for significant and/or complex legislation.

Legislative History Tools

Proquest Legislative Insight offers 27,000 legislative histories with the the complete full text of all documents that form the legislative history. Complete histories and documents are available from the 71st Congress (1929) through the current Congress. If a legislative history is not available in Proquest, use the resources listed below.



Search Tips

Proquest Congressional 

Legislative Histories: 1969-


Use Bill tracking for more search options for 1989- , for bills still under consideration and for bills that were not enacted.

Use the Search by Number function to search for a legislative history by bill or law number.

FDsys History of Bills 




THOMAS Bill Status and Summary


More links to full-text from 1990s


Earlier years can only be searched individually

Hein: Congressional Record Index 


Organized by congressional session. Subject and sponsor indexes to bills are part of the main subject index. Use the History of Bills and Resolutions section (organized by bill number) to find bill actions including summary, floor action, debates and references to reports. Index only. No full-text of bills.

Note: legislative action often spans more than one congressional session. For full legislative action on a bill, use multiple years of the Record

Congressional Record GovDocs 3West Non-Circulating (mainly print with some volumes in fiche)

The Congressional Record is available online from the Government Printing Office fom 1994-current.

The Congressional Record is available online from 1789-current through Proquest Congressional.


Digest of public general bills and resolutions (Print, GovDocs 3W)


Organized by congressional session. Provides bill history and status including bill summary, floor action, dates, roll call vote summary and report numbers. Index only. No full-text of bills.


Hein: Statutes at Large

Also available in print; GovDocs 3W

From 1975, a bill history can be found at the end of the text of a law.


Tracking Current Legislation

THOMAS,, and Proquest Congressional can also be used to track bills currently before the Congress or Senate.

These resources offer additional features such as news, options to comment or discuss bills, and ways to share or subscribe to information on a particular bill.