To determine the number of the Public Law, use one of the following:
Two other listings of federal laws by name are
Congressional Quarterly Almanac provides detailed analyses for most major pieces of legislation considered during a Congressional session.
Earlier volumes may be available in other local libraries, such as the Orlando Public Library (1951+). The earliest volumes for 1945-1950 are available at University of Florida (Gainesville) and University of South Florida (Tampa).
The narrative descriptions often track bills through the process, including discussion of the hurdles and compromises in committees. Sometimes these accounts focus on bills that failed to become law, but which received a lot of attention. For example, the 2002 volume devotes the entire five page Social Policy chapter to two issues: welfare reform and charitable choice. Congress failed to reach agreement on either issue. If these bills were reintroduced in subsequent sessions of Congress, then this analysis from 2002 might be useful for compiling part of the legislative history for those subsequent laws.
NOTE: Not every law is discussed, but search carefully before assuming that a particular law isn't covered; use the table of contents and the index to determine likely sections and then skim through those sections because the indexing is not comprehensive. Also check the volumes for earlier years and the following year.
If there is no coverage of a particular bill in the annual volume, there might be information available in CQ Weekly (step 8).
Congress and the Nation provides less detailed analyses for major pieces of legislation than the coverage found in Congressional Quarterly Almanac.
U. S. Code Congressional & Administrative News
The Congressional bill number (e.g., S. 472 or H.R. 1137) for a specific Public Law should appear near the beginning of the text for that law; record the Congressional bill number in your notes.
The first few volumes in each year contain the actual text of the Public Laws.
The subsequent volumes in each year often contain the full text of one or two of the significant committee reports about each Public Law and sometimes include the text of the Signing Statement from the President. Sometimes only the highlights of the committee reports are printed here, but reading an abridged version of the report may save time.
NOTE: Committee reports are not included in this publication for every Public Law. Even if one or two committee reports are included, there may be other important committee reports for the Public Law.
Starting with the volume for P.L. 88-1 (1963), a brief "Guide to Legislative History" appears in a table near the end of the volume, including citations for bills, committee reports and Congressional Record consideration dates.
Beginning with P.L. 94-1 (1975) the legislative history citations appear immediately following each law rather than in a separate table.
U.S. Code Congressional & Administrative News can be used from 1966 forward to identify the committee reports.
CIS U.S. Serial Set Index, Part XIII, Index by Reported Bill Numbers, 1817-1969
This print index is located in the UCF Library on the first floor at U.S. Documents Reference Z 1223.Z9 C65 1975. Follow the instructions to proceed from the library entrance to the East stairs and down to the first floor. From the stairwell turn left at the first corner and the books will be just around the corner against the wall.
The index identifies the committee reports and documents associated with a specific bill, arranged by Congressional session and bill number.
The UCF Library has the full text of these reports available on microfiche.
Similar index access by bill number is available online in ProQuest Congressional, but you will still need to use the microfiche for access to the full text.
ProQuest Congressional, Historical Indexes, 1789-1969
This online index can be used to identify Congressional publications prior to 1969.
The UCF Library has the full text of the Serial Set and published committee hearings available on microfiche, with much of the Serial Set also available online.
The unpublished hearings and pre-1969 committee prints are not currently available at UCF.
NOTE: The indexing by keyword and bill number is not comprehensive, so be creative in your search strategy.
CIS U.S. Congressional Committee Hearings Index, 1833-1969
This print index is located in the UCF Library on the first floor at U.S. Documents Reference KF 25.C659 Index. Follow the instructions to proceed from the library entrance to the East stairs and down to the first floor. As soon as you exit the stairwell turn right and the books will be on the shelves against the wall.
The index identifies the pre-1969 published committee hearings, all of which are available in the UCF Library on microfiche.
Similar index access is available online in ProQuest Congressional, but you will still need to use the microfiche for access to the full text.
If you haven't already done so, consider reviewing your topic in a specialized encyclopedia, e.g.,
Search for articles discussing the legislation in journals and newspapers. These articles may help in your analysis of the legislative history documents gathered in the previous steps.
CQ Weekly provides a weekly analysis of Congressional activities. Some of this analysis is summarized in Congressional Quarterly Almanac (See step 2).
Vital Speeches of the Day provides the full text of speeches on a wide range of political topics.
Facts on File Yearbook provides "a detailed, objective and timely weekly distillation of the news and current information as reported in more than 70 major newspapers and newsmagazines from the U.S. and around the world."
The UCF Libraries subscribe to the online versions of several indexes covering articles published in the early part of the twentieth century:
Continue your research by looking for articles in other journals and newspapers.
Databases -- Some of the databases and indexes available at UCF can be used to locate professional journals in political science or in the discipline of the legislative topic. Note that you may find articles in more recent journal issues looking back at laws enacted much earlier than the publication date of the journal. Examples of some databases to consider include: