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. What is the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN)?
  13. How do I use GLIN? Do I need a password?

Where can I find a Congressional bill?

Bills and resolutions beginning with the 101st Congress (1989-1990) may be found on THOMAS.  Ways of accessing legislation on THOMAS are described at the THOMAS Help page.

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

Bills and resolutions are available in print and microtext 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 THOMAS. Click on the COMMITTEE REPORTS link on the main page, select the Congress, and either search or browse the reports by category. 

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 by the CIS Annual Index (1970 to the present).  The CIS indexes may be searched electronically on the LexisNexis Congressional database, available on Library of Congress computers. 

The full text of the Serial Set from 1789 to 1969 has been digitized and made part of the LexisNexis Congressional database.  The LexisNexis Congressional database permits full-text searching.

Some research libraries that do not subscribe to the Serial Set module of LexisNexis 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 FDsys, which has selected hearings available beginning with the 104th Congress (1995-96).

The Law Library of Congress has a project underway to digitize our full collection of hearing materials.  Currently, there is a pilot page that provides select hearings on immigration, privacy and the census.  For more information, visit our Congressional Hearings page.

THOMAS includes a link to individual Senate or House Committee web sites, some of which provide access to hearing schedules, transcripts and/or prepared witness statements. From THOMAS, click on the GOVERNMENT RESOURCES link, and then click on COMMITTEE HOME PAGES under either the House or Senate sections to see a listing of committee web sites.

The House of Representatives sponsors a web site for House Committee Hearings, which includes selected House hearing transcripts, organized by committee.

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 microtext 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 may be searched electronically within the LexisNexis 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 beginning with the 104th Congress (1995-96) may be found on GPO FDsys.   GPO FDsys permits browsing public laws within a particular Congress, or searching within one or more Congresses.

Acts passed by Congress from the 101st Congress (1989-1990) to the present may be found on THOMAS. Under the banner FIND MORE LEGISLATION, choose PUBLIC LAWS to browse by public law number. For public laws from the 104th Congress forward, links to the public law on the GPO web site are shown.  For the 101st to 103rd Congresses, links to the public law are not provided, but you may view the "enrolled" version of the legislation, which is the version containing the exact language that passed both chambers and became public law.  To do this, click the link to the bill number, click TEXT OF LEGISLATION, and then choose the "enrolled" version.

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

To conduct a keyword search for a public law on THOMAS, from the main THOMAS page, select BILLS, RESOLUTIONS, then select SEARCH BILL TEXT, then select ENROLLED BILLS SENT TO THE PRESIDENT under WHICH BILLS? before entering your search.

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.

The first 18 volumes of the Statutes at Large, covering 1789 to 1875, are available online at the Century of Lawmaking project of the Law Library of Congress.

The entire Statutes at Large series from 1789 to the present is available electronically on two subscription databases, HeinOnline and LexisNexis 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.

THOMAS includes the Daily Edition of the Congressional Record from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present.  From the main THOMAS 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 FDsys includes the Daily Edition of the Congressional Record from 1994 (volume 140) 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.

LexisNexis Congressional, a subscription database available on computer terminals within the Library of Congress and other research libraries, includes the Congressional Record Daily Edition from 1985 to the present.

For other time periods, the Congressional Record is available in print and microtext 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.

House and Senate roll call votes from the 101st Congress forward may be browsed on THOMAS.  From the main THOMAS page, under OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY, 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 on GPO FDsys from 1994 to present.

The Federal Register from its 1936 inception to the present is 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 microtext 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 microtext, 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 beginning with the 104th Congress (1995-96) on GPO FDsys (select the Senate Treaty Documents box).  Information on the Senate’s consideration of treaties may be found on THOMAS.  From the main THOMAS page, click on TREATIES, select the Congress, and search by word or phrase or by type of treaty.

U.S. treaties from 1778 to1875 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.

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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.

What is the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN)?

GLIN is a database of primary and secondary legal materials from around the world, accessible through a multi-lingual interface.  The database is a cooperative, international project that maintains the highest standards for authenticity of the works collected.  Material is not translated, but English and other-language summaries are attached to each record.  Searching can be done by subject, keyword, jurisdiction, date, etc.  Search tips are available online.  The homepage is GLIN.gov.

How do I use GLIN? Do I need a password?

A password is not necessary to search and retrieve most of the material in GLIN.   Some countries maintain restrictions on access to the full texts of their laws, but even in those cases, the summaries and publication information are available to the public.  Researchers are invited to checkout the website at GLIN.gov.

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Last Updated: 06/18/2014