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Federal Statutes and Legislative Information

Statutes and other materials from the federal government.

What Is Legislative History?

A legislative history is a collection of the documents created by Congress or a state legislature during the process of enacting a law or rejecting a proposed law. Legislative history provides evidence that members of the legislative body were aware of particular facts and includes comments and recommendations of committees and individual members of the legislative body.

Legislative history is useful as a tool of statutory construction, when the wording of the statute is vague. Legislative history is persuasive authority. It is never binding upon a court.

Federal legislative history documents show congressional intent. The documents which can make up a legislative history include:

  • Committee Reports;
  • Bills and Amendments;
  • Hearings;
  • Committe Prints;
  • Debates; and
  • Presidential Messages.

Legislative History Resources

Legislative history resources.