Good Legislation mural in Main Reading Room Lobby by Elihu Vedder

Back to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where can I find a Congressional bill?
  2. Where can I find a Congressional committee report?
  3. Where can I find a Congressional committee hearing?
  4. Where can I find a public law?
  5. Where can I find the Congressional Record?
  6. Where can I find the recorded vote on a bill?
  7. Where can I find the Federal Register?
  8. Where can I find court rules for a particular state court?
  9. Where can I find state legislative materials, such as hearings, reports, and debates?
  10. Where can I find a treaty to which the United States is a party?
  11. Where can I find laws of other countries?
  12. Other Research Resources

Where can I find a Congressional bill?

Bills and resolutions beginning with the 101st Congress (1989-1990) may be found on Congress.gov.  Ways of accessing legislation on Congress.gov are described at the Congress.gov How To Pick a Search page.

Bills and resolutions prior to 1873 are selectively available from the Century of Lawmaking project of the Library of Congress.

Bills and resolutions have also been digitized and made part of Proquest Congressional and Proquest Legislative Insight databases which are available on Library of Congress computers.

Bills and resolutions are available in print and microform at the Law Library of Congress, and are selectively available at other libraries throughout the country, including some Federal Depository Libraries.

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Where can I find a Congressional committee report?

Committee reports beginning with the 104th Congress (1995-96) may be found on the Congress.gov Committees Page. Reports can be searched or browsed using the options on the right hand sidebar of this page.

Selected House and Senate reports from the 78th Congress (1943) to date are included in US Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN), available in many law libraries, including the Law Library Reading Room.

Committee reports are printed as part of the United States Congressional Serial Set. The Serial Set is available at the Law Library of Congress, as well as some libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program.

The Serial Set is indexed by the Congressional Information Service (CIS) US Serial Set Index (1789-1969) and the CIS Annual Index (1970 to present).  The CIS indexes and full text of the Serial Set reports and documents may be searched electronically on the Proquest Congressional database, available on Library computers.

Some research libraries that do not subscribe to the Serial Set and CIS Annual Index module of Proquest Congressional may have the microfiche sets that correspond to the CIS indexes.

Conference committee reports, in addition to being published as separate reports, are usually printed in the Congressional Record.

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Where can I find a Congressional committee hearing?

Congressional hearings are selectively available on GPO govinfo, which has selected hearings available beginning with the 104th Congress (1995-96).

Congress.gov includes links to individual Senate and House Committee web sites which may provide access to hearing schedules and prepared witness statements.  From the Congress.gov Committees page click on any individual committee and at the following screen click on the link to the Committee website from the overview box: e.g. Congress.gov House Agriculture Committee page.

Congress.gov individual Committee pages also include links to Live and Archived Video of Hearings and Meetings.

Congressional hearings are often published by the Government Printing Office.  Printed congressional hearings are available at the Law Library of Congress. Search the Library of Congress online catalog to find the location and call number of individual hearing titles. Congressional hearings are selectively available at other libraries throughout the country, including some Federal Depository Libraries.

Committee hearings are available in microform at certain libraries, including the Law Library of Congress, that have the microfiche set corresponding to the following indexes published by the Congressional Information Service (CIS):

  • CIS Annual Index (1970 to the present)
  • CIS US Congressional Committee Hearings Index, 1833-1969
  • CIS Index to Unpublished US House of Representatives Committee Hearings, 1833-1968
  • CIS Index to Unpublished US Senate Committee Hearings, 1823-1980

These indexes and the full text of hearings may be searched electronically within the Proquest Congressional database, a subscription database available at the Library of Congress and other research libraries.

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Where can I find a public law?

U.S. public laws and private laws beginning with the 104th Congress (1995-96) may be found on the GPO govinfo site. GPO govinfo permits browsing public laws within a particular Congress, or searching by date or by citation.

Acts passed by Congress from the 101st Congress (1989-1990) to the present may be found on Congress.gov. Under the Search box in the Bill Searches and Lists section, choose Public Laws to browse by public law number. Public law texts are available on Congress.gov from 1989 (101st Congress) to the present.  To access a public law, click the link to the bill number, click on the Text tab, and the "enrolled" version of the bill which contains the exact language of the public law will appear.

For the 93rd to 100th Congresses, Congress.gov contains information about public laws, but not the full text. To research public laws from these Congresses, click on the Public Laws page, under SELECT CONGRESS, and then choose the Congress in which the law was passed. 

The United States Statutes at Large is the official printed source for public laws.  It is available in print at the Law Library of Congress, and at Federal Depository Libraries.

Volumes 1-64 (1789-1950) of the Statutes at Large are available online through the Law Library of Congress. Volumes 65-125 (1951-2011) are available through GPO govinfo website.

The entire Statutes at Large series from 1789 to the present is available electronically on two subscription databases, HeinOnline and Proquest Congressional, which are available on computer terminals within the Library of Congress and other research libraries.

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Where can I find the Congressional Record?

The Congressional Record includes the proceedings on the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Congress.gov includes the Daily Edition of the Congressional Record from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present.  From the main Congress.gov page, click on the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD link, select the Congress, and either browse the daily issues, browse the keyword index, or search by word or phrase.

GPO govinfo includes the Daily Edition and Bound Edition of the Congressional Record from 1873 (volume 1) to the present. 

For 1789 to 1875, the Century of Lawmaking project of the Library of Congress includes full text scans of the predecessors of the Congressional Record, the Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, and the Congressional Globe, as well as the Congressional Record through 1875.

Proquest Congressional and HeinOnline, subscription databases are available on computer terminals within the Library of Congress and other research libraries. They include the Congressional Record predecessors, the Congressional Record Bound Edition, and the Congressional Record Daily Edition from 1985 to the present.

The Congressional Record is also available in print and microform at the Law Library of Congress and other research libraries, including most Federal Depository Libraries.

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Where can I find the recorded vote on a bill?

Recorded votes on a bill on the floor of the Senate or House of Representatives can be located in the Congressional Record.   If you have the bill number, the “History of Bills and Resolutions” section of the Congressional Record Index provides the page number for roll call votes.  If you do not have the bill number, you may research the topic in the subject index portion of the Congressional Record Index.

From the main Congress.gov page, under header Recent, select Roll Call Votes and then choose the chamber and session of Congress to see a list of votes.

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Where can I find the Federal Register?

The Federal Register is available from its inception in 1936 to the present through GPO’s govinfo site. The Library of Congress also provides access to the Federal Register from 1936 to 1993.

The Federal Register from its 1936 inception to the present is also available on a subscription database, HeinOnline, which may be accessed on computer terminals within the Library of Congress and other research libraries.

The Federal Register is available in print and microform at the Law Library of Congress and other research libraries, including most Federal Depository Libraries.  The Law Library’s holdings include the Federal Register from 1936 forward in both print and microfiche.

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Where can I find court rules for a particular state court?

State court rules can be found in the individual state codes for most states. Additionally, court rules usually can be accessed from individual state court web sites. For a listing of individual state web sites, visit the Law Library’s Guide to Law Online.  State court web sites are listed in individual state resource sections under the heading JUDICIARY. The Law Library retains codes for all states in print format in the Law Library Reading Room.

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Where can I find state legislative materials, such as hearings, reports, and debates?

Unlike state session laws, of which the Law Library has a comprehensive collection in microform and the HeinOnline subscription database, the Library of Congress’s holdings of state legislative materials are not complete.  To determine if materials for a particular state are available, search the Library of Congress online catalog using the name of the state legislative body.  The state legislative journals collected by the Library of Congress are usually shelved with political science materials in the Library of Congress’s general collection, rather than in the Law Library.

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Where can I find a treaty to which the United States is a party?

Before 1950, treaties were published in the United States Statutes at Large.  Starting in 1945, the State Department has published international agreements of the United States in pamphlet form in a series known as the Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.). After 1950, the State Department began publishing agreements that first appear in T.I.A.S. in a series of bound volumes called United States Treaties and other International Agreements.  These materials are available in print at the Law Library of Congress and other research libraries, including most Federal Depository Libraries.

Electronically, treaties are available on a subscription database, HeinOnline, which is available on computer terminals within the Library of Congress and other research libraries. 

Senate Treaty Documents, which contain the text of U.S. treaties sent by the President for ratification by the Senate, are available on Congress.gov beginning with the 94th Congress (1975-1976).  Treaties can be searched from the Congress.gov homepage by selecting Treaty Documents option from the Current Legislation drop down box and searching by word or phrase. You can also search by Congress and treaty number by clicking on the More Options tab under the Search box and selecting Treaty Documents as the collection to be searched.

U.S. treaties from 1778 to 1875 are available on the Statutes at Large page of the Library of Congress’s Century of Lawmaking project.  Volume 7 of the Statutes at Large includes Indian treaties from 1778 to 1842.  Volume 8 of the Statutes at Large includes foreign treaties from 1778 to 1845.  Later treaties through 1875 are included in the subsequent individual volumes.

Access to treaties is also provided through the United States Treaty Series, which was compiled by Charles I. Bevans.  This series includes treaties to which the United States was a party from 1776 to 1949.  The series is broken down into 13 volumes: four volumes of multilateral treaties; eight volumes of bilateral treaties; and a one volume index.

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Where can I find laws of other countries?

Foreign law may be contained in codes, individual statutes, gazettes, and other sources.  Most of these works are included in the Library of Congress online catalog.  Keep in mind that these materials are not necessarily available in English.  In addition, numerous multinational sets of laws or legal summaries are available in the Reading Room.  You may direct questions to us electronically, by phone, or by mail.

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Other Research Resources

For more information on how to search for laws, regulations, treaties and congressional committee materials, the Research Guide entries on the Law Library’s blog, In Custodia Legis provide helpful information.  A list of some of the most relevant posts are listed below: 

Compiling a Federal Legislative History: A Beginner’s Guide
How to Locate a United States Congressional Committee Report: A Beginner’s Guide
How to Locate a Published Congressional Hearing: A Beginner’s Guide
How to Locate an Unpublished Congressional Hearing: A Beginner’s Guide
Debates of Congress: A Beginner’s Guide
Locating Congressional Documents: A Beginner’s Guide

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Last Updated: 05/25/2018