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Legal Research

Handy resources to help with legal research

Finding Bills and Other Congressional Documents

A Bill is introduced to the Senate or House and creates new laws, repeals old ones, or amends existing laws.  Concurrent bills of the same legislation can be introduced to both Chambers. To obtain a copy of a Bill, go to

A Congressional Document is a publication of the Full Chamber containing special reports from executive agencies, presidential messages, etc.  They can be found at GPO Access and Congressional Universe.

Records of Committee Actions include:

  • Reports, which are publications detailing a committee's discussion and recommendations on a particular bill. 
  • Hearings contain the trainscript of committee testimony such as witnesses' oral and written statements, question and answer sessions, and related reports and exhibits.  
  • Prints are general publications that may contain draft legislation, historical information about a topic, statistics, or situation reports.
  • These are also available at the Library of Congress (Thomas) and Congressional Universe.

Floor Actions are transcripts of remarks from the floor of either Chamber.  Any member of Congress may "re-do" their remarks for final versions.  These can be found at GPO Access, Thomas and Congressional Universe.

Finding Federal Statutes

Finding Current Laws by Topic

Federal laws currently in effect are found in the U.S. Code., arranged by topic.  The Code is only updated every six years, so for more updated information see Lexis Nexis Academic.  These will include any cases associated with a statute.