Also available in print in Government Publications Reference (Library Annex II).
How to find a topic or a published legislative history
Legislative histories are a compilation of all documents relating to a law, and are used to determine the intent of the law. Laws can be traced through bills, committee reports, committee prints, hearings, and Presidential messages. Committee reports will usually contain a reason for the passage of a bill.
1. First find a topic:
If you have not selected a topic, do a quick search in the following SFSU databases & web sites. Remember the bill number & name, Public Law number, committees, and names of senators or representatives.
CQ Weekly reports on and analyzes Congressional activities, summarizes major legislation, provides voting records.
CQ Researcher analyzes, and provide pros and cons on, controversial and timely issues. The chronology often includes significant legislation on the issue.
d. Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. CRS "works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysist to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resources on Capitol Hill for nearly a century."
SFSU now subscribes to the GalleryWatch CRS Collection, which has over 25,000 documents (PDFs & abstracts) from 1993.
2. Or browse the print indexes on the third floor for a law that has passed:
a. Use the Index in the CIS Index Annual Legislative Histories of US Public Laws (1994-present)
b. Check Congressional Quarterly Almanac to see what bills have passed in the year and the synopsis.
c. For California laws, use the Deerings General Index or the current Legislative Index.
(Hint: For California laws on Education, search Schools. Teachers. and Education in the Index.)
3. Or search compiled legislative histories on your topic:
a. Check the Investigator Catalog for legislative histories on your topic.
Do a KEYWORD search on: legislative history AND __(your subject)____.
You could also do a SUBJECT search on (topic) law and legislation. For instance, Educational law and legislation. You might click on Educational law and legislation United States, or Educational law and legislation United States History, which includes compilations on educational laws.
b. Check the CIS Index Annual Legislative Histories of US Public Laws (1984-present, in the Government Publications area on the 3rd floor, west side of the big study area). This provides a concise summary of the law, reports, bills, debate, hearings, and documents related to the law.
c. Check the Congressional Legislative Histories, Bills and Laws
d. Legislative Histories of Selected U.S. Laws on the Internet, part of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.'s Legislative Source Book.
Phone: (415) 405-2517
Library Annex II