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Researching Statutes: Legislative History

This guide serves as an introduction to statutory research. To access the linked databases on Westlaw and Lexis, you should sign on to Westlaw and Lexis before clicking on the links in this guide.

Proquest Congressional & Legislative Insight

Proquest Congressional is a database that indexes federal history materials. The federal material is indexed from 1970 to the present and provides full text coverage generally from the 1990s to present.

Proquest Legislative Insight is a federal legislative history service that makes available thoroughly researched compilations of digital full text publications created by Congress during the process leading up to the enactment of U.S. Public Laws.

Hein Online's Federal Legislative History

Heinonline's U.S. Federal Legislative History Library contains two distinct databases.  One is the Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories and the other is the U.S. Federal Legislative History Title Collection.  For off campus access to these databases, you will need to implement the proxy instructions.

Legislative History

Legislative history refers to the documents that are created and/or considered by the legislature in the process of enacting a law. These materials usually include, various versions of bills, committee reports, debates, and executive branch reports.  Although, legislative history materials are subordinate to the statute itself, often courts, lawyers, and scholars look to these materials to interpret a legislature's intent.  Looking into the intent of a legislature is often murky, because statements of legislative representatives are often ambiguous and in many instances statements made by different representatives conflict with each other.  Because of such, many jurisdictions disfavor using legislative history to discern legislative intent.   Before relying on these materials, make sure to check how your jurisdiction views the use of legislative history.

Federal Legislative History

To access free federal legistlative history materials, visit FDsys.

To access federal legislative history materials on Westlaw, click on the link below.

Westlaw's Federal Legislative History

To access legislative history materials on Lexis Advance, click on the link below.

Lexis' Federal Legislative Bill History

New York State Legislative History

To access free legislative materials, visit the New York State Assembly website at assembly.state.ny.us.

To access New York State legislative history materials on Westlaw, click on the link below.

Westlaw's New York State Legislative History

To access New York State legistlative history materials on Lexis Advance, click on the link below.

New York Legislative Bill History

USCCAN

Linda Holmes' New York State Legislative History Research Guide

State Capital Universe

State Capital Universe indexes legislative information from the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Coverage begins, generally, in 1991 and is current to the present legislative session.