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Selecting & Developing Your Seminar Paper Topic: Congressional Activities, "Hot" Bills & Reports

This guide is designed to help law students select and research a topic for their upper level writing requirement.

FDSYS: Federal Digital System

FDSYS is the Government Printing Office platform that provides users free access to a variety of government documents from both the legislative and executive branch.  It allows users to either conduct a keyword search to identify a document or to browse for a document by Congressional Committee or by date.

Congressional Information Service (CIS)

CIS is a service that indexes federal and state legislative history materials.

  • The federal material is indexed from 1789 to the present and is bifurcated by date. Please choose the correct data range for your research (1789 to 1969, or 1970 to the present).
  • 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.

CQ Weekly

Since 1945, CQ Weekly has provided comprehensive and non partisan reporting on Congress.

Tip: View the "Weekly Report" for this weeks legislative news

Tip: "For the Record" reviews all bills which are up for a vote in the House & Senate during the previous week

CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service ("CRS") is a division of the Library of Congress.  The mission of CRS is to analyze and report on issues to Congress.  The reports created by CRS are highly regarded for their non partisan nature and depth of analysis.  If you identify a relevant CRS report, you should retrieve it.  The report will provide you with a wealth of knowledge on the law, policy, regulations, and other important factors that impact an issue.

Unfortunately, CRS reports are not available for free to the general public.  However, many organizations have collected and posted these reports on their websites.  One of these websites is listed below.  Another way to locate a CRS report for free online is to search for the order number of the report in the search engine of your choice.

If you cannot find the report you need on a free website, contact a reference librarian (refdesk@brooklaw.edu) and they will help you to obtain it.