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Provides overview of legislative history of Federal legislation. Outlines legislative process, including different types of legislation, floor actions in each house of Congress, and Presidential actions taken in response to legislation passed by Congress. Lists various print and electronic resources to use to find legislative history material.
Provides users with access to a comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information. Includes full text of congressional publications, finding aids, a bill tracking service, public laws and other research materials. The database is an effective source for general research in many academic disciplines, in addition to research related to specific legislative proposals and laws. Researchers can access information about Congress, including member biographical and committee assignment information, voting records, and financial data.
The Legislative Process
A simple, uncomplicated example of a Bill that Becomes Law
Bill is introduced in the House or Senate.
Bill is assigned a number - sequentially as introduced.
Bill is assigned to a committee.
Bill is usually assigned to a subcommittee of the committee.
Hearing(s) or "Mark Up" session(s) are held & bill is revised.
Note: There are usually no records of these sessions.
This is where the "sausage" often is made -- i.e, political horse trading
Bill is reported out of subcommittee to the committee.
Committee holds hearings.
Committee revises bill.
Committee votes to approve bill.
Committee reports out bill to the full House or Senate.
House or Senate considers bill.
Houes or Senate debates bill.
House or Senate amends bill on the floor.
House or Senate votes to approve bill.
Bill (now an Act) move to the other Chamber for a similar process of consideration.
Act is approved by the other Chamber.
The "Enrolled Act" goes to the President for signature or veto.
Act is given a Public Law (PL) number -- sequentially as passed.
For example, PL 112-35, the 35th public law passed by the 112th Congress.
The Executive Branch agency (authorized in the law) proposes regulations to implement the law.
Proposed regulations are published in the Federal Register.
Public comment is received.
Agency holds public hearings. (Public comments and hearings may be repeated.)
Regulations are finalized by the agency.
Regulations are included in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Law as passed Statues at Large
Law as codified United States Code
Regulation as proposed Federal Register
Regulation as codified Code of Federal Regulation
Some Questions to Ask.
WHOare the individuals and/or groups that
Introduced the bill?
Sponosored or co-sponsored the bill?
Supported the bill?
Opposed the bill?
Were served by or affected by the bill?
WHEN did specific actions take place such as
Referred to Committee
Referred to Subcommittee
Considered by Subcommittee ("mark up" sessions held)
Reported out by Subcommittee to Committee
Hearings held by Committee
Reported out by Committee to full House or Senate
Considered by full House or Senate
Debated on the floor
Voted on by full House or Senate?
WHATwere the bills specifics?
As reported out by Subcommittee
As reported out by Committee
As finally passed by the House or Senate
i.e., what was sent to other chamber
As considered by the other chamber (similar action points)