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Legislative Process: Bill Introduction

How a bill becomes a law in the US, with the government documents associated with each step of the process

Sources for bills

Action:

Members of the House or Senate introduce bills for consideration. The bills are considered by each house separately first. The President, a member of the Cabinet, or head of a Federal agency can also propose legislation.


Sources for recent bills:

GPO Access Congressional Bills
Available from the 103rd (1993-1994) Congress - present.
ProQuest Congressional
Choose Bills & Laws from the search page.
Legislative histories of bills from 91st (1969-1970) Congress - present.; text and status of bills from 101st Congress- present.
THOMAS: Bills, Resolutions
Texts of bills from the 101st (1989) Congress - present, and bill summary status from 1973.
Congress.gov
Beta version of THOMAS's successor. For now, includes legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present.
GovTrack.us: Tracking the U.S. Congress 
Follow the latest action in Congress, research members' votes, and set up your own feeds to track specific legislation.

Sources for older bills:

Full text of early bills, before amendment and passage, or especially if they "died", can be difficult to find.  Here are some suggested resources.   

Congressional bills
96th-106th Cong.  (Y 1.4/1: Public Documents and Maps microfiche, 3rd floor Bostock)
Congressional Record
X 1.1:  1873 - 1913 Public Documents & Maps microfiche/ 1913-2004  Public Documents & Maps, U.S. Documents
Congressional Globe
From 1833 - 1873
Register of Debates
From 1824 -1837
Annals of Congress
From 1789 - 1824
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
House and Senate Reports

Subject Guide

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Ryan Denniston
Contact:
ryan.denniston@duke.edu

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