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References are given to each document's CIS accession number (, S183-4), which provides access to its CIS abstract (the accompanying microfiche collection is not available at Duke, but CIS numbers can be used in Pro Quest Congressional to retrieve a document by accession number).Pro Quest Congressional provides direct links to full text where it is available through their interface; note that certain types of materials or certain time periods may need to be accessed via other online sources.This site provides the text of legislation as well as related bills, amendments, debates, and committee documents.The “Actions” tab for a particular bill is useful for determining what legislative history materials exist for a particular law, and will link to any available reports and debates (generally 1994-present).For very recent acts, bill numbers are included with the slip law (a pamphlet version of the new law, which serves as the official version until the next compilation of is published).Slip laws are available in the Federal Area (current Congress) and full-text via Gov Info (1995 - present).
Statements made and reports written after enactment are usually found to be less persuasive, and are not considered part of the "legislative history". is available in the Law Library's Stevens Federal Area (Level 3), as well as online through the U. Government Publishing Office's Gov Info site, and the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.
Bill numbers for earlier laws can be most easily found through the Bills section of Pro Quest Congressional, containing the full text of bills from 1789-2013.
They can also be found through the tables in Eugene Nabors, ). Federal Legislative History Library), which includes materials dating back to the 1st Congress. The site points to compiled legislative histories in Lexis, Westlaw, Hein Online, the Department of Commerce, and other sources.
This is because committee reports are written to explain the proposal, as well as its intended effects, by the legislators who looked at the bill most closely.
Normally, there are separate House and Senate reports available for each enacted law, as well as a conference report if the final language was developed by a conference committee of legislators from both chambers.
The documents are commonly referred to by a number including that of Congress, e.g., "H. House reports began this numbering system in 1817; Senate reports in 1847.