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Legal Research Resources for USD Students (Non-Law): Federal Legislative History

This guide is intended for academic research in legal resources by University of South Dakota graduate and undergraduate students from colleges and schools other than the School of Law. The information in this guide is not intended as legal advice.

The Federal Legislative Process

The United States Serial Set - USD Database

The United States Congressional Serial Set contains legislative and executive documents published since 1817. It includes House and Senate committee reports, presidential communicatons to Congress, treaty materials, executive department publications, and non-governmental materials. By special order, selected hearings and bill texts from the 19th and early 20th centuries were included. See Richard J. McKinney, An Overview of the United States Congressional Serial Set (last revised 2012).

The Serial Set is available from the University Libraries in an online searchable database, as well as on microfiche and in print (see USD Books and Microfiche box below).

The American State Papers, from the Library of Congress' American Memory Collection, includes the legislative and executive documents of Congress from the years 1789 to 1817.

The United States Serial Set - USD Books and Microfiche

Compiled Federal Legislative Histories

A "compiled legislative history" is a collection of the documents created during the legislative process for one major piece of legislation, or an "Act."  To locate a compiled legislative history of a particular Act of Congress, it is important to know its "Public Law Number."  This number, assigned to the Act soon after it is signed by the President, includes the Congressional Session and the order in which the Act was passed during the Session:  Pub. L. No. 95-598.

Individual Legislative Documents: Bills, Committee Hearings, Committee Reports and Floor Debates

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