How to . . .
find copies of bills
You can read the full text of recent bills on the web, you can order printed copies from the Senate or House Document Rooms, or you can find them in a library. Senate bills are also sometimes printed in the
You need a bill or public law number to check the status or request a copy of legislation.
Active Legislation is one of several resources that will help you
find bill numbers.
THOMAS provides the full text of bills from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present. You can do fielded searches
by bill number, sponsor, committee, stage in legislative process, standard subject term, word or phrase. You can also
browse a sequential list of all bills and resolutions.
GPO provides the full text of bills from the 103rd Congress (1993) to the present. You can search by bill number, or you can browse a list of all bills and resolutions.
Senate Document Services may be able to provide you with a copy of a bill or resolution from the current Congress. Check with them for availability.
Bills and resolutions may be available in large library systems or college libraries, frequently as a part of their participation in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Over 1,100 libraries participate in the FDLP, collecting and/or providing public access to government documents. A
list of depository libraries is available on GPO's website. Since most depository libraries are within a university or state library, calling ahead to ask about hours is advised.
Some Senate bills are printed in the
Congressional Record, generally on the day they are introduced. Quite often, a senator gives a statement of introduction, which is helpful in understanding the provisions of the bill. The text of House measures are rarely printed, and there are usually no statements of introduction.