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POLI 170: Research Methods in Political Science: Tracking Legislation


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Tracking Legislation

Thomas (Library of Congress)

Thomas allows you to find bills that have been introduced in Congress and follow the legislation from introduction through passage. Most bills die in committee. The key documents in the legislative process are:

  • Bill as introduced
  • Amended versions of the bill (reflects changes as it proceeds)
  • Hearings
  • Committee Reports (These are excellent because they summarize why the committee members believe the entire House or Senate should pass the legislation)
  • Law (statute) as passed

Many bills take multiple years before becoming law. A Legislative History will identify all the pertinent documents associated with the law. This feature is not available in Thomas so you will need to use the LexisNexis Congressional database.


Last Revised by Sophia Neuhaus on September 2, 2010

Social Sciences and Government Information Librarian