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Legislative History

This LibGuide will help users locate documents and conduct legislative history research at North Carolina Central University School of Law's Library.

Why are bills important to the legislative history process?

The text of a bill as it is introduced into Congress and any editing made to it as it moves through the legislative process allows researchers to surmise (or at least attempt to surmise) the intent of Congress in passing the bill into law.  Unfortunately, analysis of a bill and any editing made to it requires the researcher to make assumptions difficult to prove without other documentation of legislative intent.  Despite this problem, bills remain a useful tool in legislative history research because they allow the researcher to see how a bill has evolved through the legislative process.

An Example of a Congressional Bill

Print Resources

NCCU's Law Library provides researchers with multiple access points for locating the text of bills in print.

  • Compiled Legislative Histories: Many compiled legislative histories will provide researchers with the text of the bill they are researching.  Please see the Compiled Legislative Histories tab for information about how to locate these research tools.
  • Congressional Record: Bills are often read into the Congressional Record when they are introduced.  Researchers can locate the text of bills through the date they were introduced if that date is known.  NCCU's Law Library allows for researchers to access the Congressional Record through both microfiche and print.  Microfiche access spans 1949 to present.  Print access spans from 1926 to present.  The Congressional Record is located on the 2nd floor of the Law Library.
  • Congressional Information Service materials (CIS): To locate bills using CIS, begin by using the Legislative Histories volumes.  They are organized by public law number.  Look up your bill within the proper volume.  There you will locate a CIS citation giving you the number assigned to the related CIS microfiche containing the document.  The microfiche will be filed by year and then by document number within each year.

Electronic Resources