Government Documents and Microforms

How a Bill Becomes a Law and Various Other Sources

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How to Choose a Particular Bill or Law

If you are not sure where to begin, need background information, an explanation of legislation that has passed and/or some pros and cons of the legislation, these sources will provide an overview and explanation.

Title & Dates of Coverage Location Frequency & Indexing Description
CQ Weekly
(earlier title, CQ Weekly Report) 1946-
Middleton Reference
JK 1 .C15

Academic Search Premierk
Updated Weekly.

Indexed quarterly by subject and name.

The CQ Weekly Report is a news magazine that provides detailed coverage of Congress, the presidency, the Supreme Court, and national politics.

Includes a summary of provisions of important legislation; presidential legislative requests, press conferences, statements, and messages; roll call votes of members; interest group activities; and other relevant activities.
CQ Researcher
(earlier title, Editorial Research Reports)
H 35 .E355

LSU Library Network
Four per month, two annual bound volumes Each report covers a single subject and discusses the major issues, background, historical, and possible future developments. Includes a one-page bibliography of basic books, articles, reports, and studies.
Congressional Almanac
Middleton Reference
JK 1 C66
[current year; prior years in Stacks]
Updated Annually.

Use the table of contents or the index under the subject of interest.

This publication is essentially a yearbook of Congress, Highlighting major legislation for the year.

Each chapter will cover a major subject such as agriculture, foreign policy, housing and urban affairs, and law and justice. Each subject is further subdivided into specific legislation or topics.
Congress and the Nation
Middleton Reference
KF 4945 .C6
Issued quadrennial (i.e., every presidential term). This source offers an encyclopedia version of politics and government.
Based on information in the Congressional Almanac, as well as other sources, it provides an overview of major legislation by subject. It is particularly useful in tracing major legislative changes in an abridged format.
Congressional Digest
Middleton Reference
Table 2
JK 1 C65
[current year; prior years in Stacks]
Updated Monthly. This publication features a single political controversy in each issue, providing a general introduction and history, and overview of the current program or situation, and an outline of proposed legislation.

Congresspersons and interest group representatives present both sides of the controversy in the "Pros and Cons" section, usually in the form of statements.
LexisNexis Academic LSU Library Network Updated Daily. Lexis/Nexis product with full-text online news, business, legal, legislative, and regulatory information.
Digest of Public General Bills and Resolutions 1936-1990 Middleton
Government Documents
LC 13.6:
Indexes for sponsors, cosponsors, short title, and subjects. For each session of Congress, provides summaries of the essential features of public bills and resolutions.
Expanded Academic Index
LSU Library Network Updated Daily. The Expanded Academic Index is an online index to articles in more than one thousand periodicals covering the social sciences, the humanities, the sciences, and current affairs. This index covers these periodicals back to 1994 and also offers indexing to the last six months of the New York Times. Searches lead to bibliographic publications, the full text of the article is also provided.
Updated Daily. This is the major government gateway to federal government information. Includes published versions of congressional bills, reports, and documents. Also includes the Congressional Record, Congressional Directory, History of Bills, and theConstitution Annotated.

Non-congressional sources include the Federal Register, United States Code, United States Government Manual, and the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda (Unified Agenda).
Major Studies and Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service Middleton Microforms
No. 4407
Issued as requested by Congress. These publications of the Congressional Research Service provide access to major issues, policy options, background information, and research studies by subject specialists. This agency of the Library of Congress provides detailed background information for use by Congressional committees. Many of the reports are issued as committee prints that can be identified through CIS Index and Abstracts.

The majority of reports are issued as Major Studies and Issue Briefs, which are unpublished.

Selected CRS reports are appearing on the WWW. See: University of Michigan Documents Center
National Journal
JK 1 N282

Updated Weekly. A newsmagazine of politics and government.

While it covers many of the same topics as the CQ Weekly Report, it sometimes provides a more comprehensive summary and background report on an irregular basis rather than reporting developments week by week.
National Newspaper Index
LSU Library Network Updated Daily. An electronic index of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, theWall Street Journal, the L. A. Times and the Washington Post.
New York Times Middleton Reference
Reference Table 6
AI 21 N44

National Newspaper Index
Updated Daily.
Current paper issues in Newspaper 20 and retrospective MF in Microforms Department
Updated Monthly.
Covers world and national news, columns, editorials and letters to the editor, local news, business and financial news, sports, reviews, arts and entertainment, travel, biographical stories, obituaries of famous people, the NYT Book Review and Magazine, and wire service stories.
PAIS Middleton Reference
Z 7163 P9
Updated Monthly Issued by the Public Affairs Information Service, a private political science organization.

This index will provide citations on sources of information about federal, state, and international legislation.

Materials indexed include magazines, books, and government publications.
THOMAS WWW Updated Daily. Produced by the Library of Congress, this is a major government gateway into congressional information.
Includes published versions of congressional bills, reports, and documents. Also includes the Congressional Record, History of Bills and How Our Laws are Made.

Non-congressional sources include links to Historical Resources via the National Archives and the Library of Congress.
United States Code Congressional and Administrative News Law Library
Federal Materials--2nd Floor
Issued Monthly, with annual cumulations. Contains full texts of public laws for each session of Congress. Legislative history volumes include reprints of some of the committee reports for each public law. Session's final volume contains a list of proclamations, executive orders, miscellaneous tables and a subject index.
U.S. Government Periodicals Index Middleton Reference
Z 1223 .Z9I5
mrdf 27
Annual cumulations Bibliographic citations to articles from periodicals published by agencies of the U. S. government.
CCH Congressional Index Middleton Reference
K 49 .C6
Updated Weekly.
Includes subject and author indexes in volume 1.
Loose-leaf service with up-to-date information on bills being considered by Congress (volume 1, Senate; volume 2, House).

“Bills” section lists bills with short summaries, when introduced and by whom, and to which committee assigned.

“Status of bills” section covers major milestones of legislative history, including what stage in the legislative process a bill has advanced to, to which subcommittee assigned, when floor debate occurred in each chamber, conference committee activity, and when the President signed or vetoed.

“Voting” section gives the vote on bills that advanced to a floor vote.

“Members” section lists leadership and committee membership.
CIS Index and Abstracts
Middleton Reference
Table 5
KF 49 C62

Updated Quarterly, with Annual cumulations.

Indexing is by subject, interest group and witness name, titles, bill, report, and document numbers, and committee chairpersons.
Indexes U.S. Congressional Committee publications including hearings, prints, and reports.

Since 1984, a separate Legislative Histories volume lists reports, hearings and witnesses, and floor debates on each bill that became law.

Before 1984, this information is included in abbreviated form at the end of the Abstract volume of each year.
Congressional Record [various titles]
Middleton Documents
X 1.1:

Issued every day that Congress is in session.

Indexed biweekly by subject, personal name, and bill number
Official record of floor debates and votes of Congress. Full Text is included on FDsys, 1994 to present as well as the Index from 1983.

The “Daily Digest” section in each issue of the Record provides a summary of the day's actions and is cumulated at the end of each session.

The "History of Bills and Resolutions" is a section of the Congressional Record Index that provides information about all bills and resolutions introduced during that session of Congress. Available also via FDsys from 1983 to present

See Also, LSU Libraries Subject Guide on American Politics