Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

Documenting How a Bill Becomes a Law
August 19th, 2011 Posted by

Have you ever wondered about the legislative process that led to the creation of the Department of Justice in 1870? Or how Congress changed the law concerning telemarketers in 1998?

A number of digitized legislative histories compiled by the Department of Justice library staff throughout the years on laws of interest to department have now been made available to the public on our website, justice.gov.   These legislative histories are an important roadmap into the development and passage of a law of the United States.

A “legislative history” of a law consists of documents created as a result of the legislative process during a law’s consideration, passage by Congress, and signature by the President. 

 A compiled legislative history assists in organizing the various documents that resulted in the passage of a law. Attorneys and researchers are then able to efficiently search and review the compiled legislative documents to find legal clarifications specific statutory language within the law. 

Most legislative histories may include some, or all, of the following: the U.S. Public Law; House and Senate Documents; House, Senate, and Conference Reports; House and Senate Committee Hearings; Congressional Debates (Congressional Record); related Bills; and Presidential Statements.

Our digitized legislative histories are unique and may be more comprehensive than other legislative histories on the same laws available through other libraries or research databases.

The documents within the legislative histories added to justice.gov were originally researched, comprehensively collected from Congressional publications, and bound into paper volumes by our librarians.  Until now, these multi-volume histories were made available only to department employees through the Justice Department’s main library collection.

They have been digitized and are now available to the public. We invite you to view them online.

Search The Blog

View the Blog Archives
Select Month And Year April 2012  (2) March 2012  (22) February 2012  (9) January 2012  (4) December 2011  (5) November 2011  (15) October 2011  (13) September 2011  (16) August 2011  (7) July 2011  (10) June 2011  (11) May 2011  (7) April 2011  (13) March 2011  (8) February 2011  (8) January 2011  (12) December 2010  (5) November 2010  (6) October 2010  (12) September 2010  (6) August 2010  (3) July 2010  (11) June 2010  (7) May 2010  (10) April 2010  (10) March 2010  (9) February 2010  (4) January 2010  (14) December 2009  (7) November 2009  (14) October 2009  (17) September 2009  (4) August 2009  (1)

Stay ConnectedYouTubeTwitterFacebookSign Up for E-Mail UpdatesSubscribe to News Feeds
Updated September 9, 2014

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No