Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide

Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide
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CRS — Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide

Posted on June 20, 2011 by fulltextreports
Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide (PDF)

    This report provides an overview of federal legislative history research, the legislative process, and where to find congressional documents. The report also summarizes some of the reasons researchers are interested in legislative history, briefly describes the actions a piece of legislation might undergo during the legislative process, and provides a list of easily accessible print and electronic resources. This report will be updated as needed.

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Hat tip to the always useful-to-follow Boley Law Library in Portland, Oregon (to follow on Twitter, it’s:   @lawlib )

A little bit about the legislative process…

So, I was googling myself, well, actually for my blog posts 🙂 and I ran across some really some really interesting bits. Much like browsing the shelves in our library, you always find something interesting (del.icio.us, too) when you let yourself link on through to the next site and the next and so on.

I happened across the terrific OpenHouseProject.com while reading about the PublicMarkup.org initiative (more about that in a later post), and I read about this really handy-dandy CRS publication:

The Congressional Research Service and the American Legislative Process” — The report is freely available to us all thanks to OpenCRS.org [“Congressional Research Reports for the People” is their noble tagline.]

Here is the brief description of the report from OpenCRS:

“The Library of Congress, as its name suggests, is a library dedicated to serving the United States Congress and its Members. It serves additionally as an unexcelled national library. The Library was located in the Capitol Building with the House of Representatives and the Senate until 1897, and its collections always have been available for use by Congress. Building upon a concept developed by the New York State Library and then the Wisconsin legislative reference department, Wisconsin’s Senator Robert LaFollette and Representative John M. Nelson led an effort to direct the establishment of a special reference unit within the Library in 1914. Later known as the Legislative Reference Service, it was charged with responding to congressional requests for information. For more than 50 years, this department assisted Congress primarily by providing facts and publications and by transmitting research and analysis done largely by other government agencies, private organizations, and individual scholars. In 1970, Congress enacted a law transforming the Legislative Reference Service into the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and directing CRS to devote more of its efforts and increased resources to performing research and analysis that assists Congress in direct support of the legislative process….”

For more, read the report — and, did I mention that it is only 10 pages long, too!