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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Legislative History (federal & state): Reports & Documents

A guide to finding state and federal legislative documents and performing legislative history research.

What's a Report?

When a bill is referred out of a Congressional committee to the entire floor of the chamber, the committee will submit a report of their findings. These reports, especially those of conference committees reconciling language from House and Senate versions of bills, are considered the most persuasive form of  legislative intent.  Committee Reports can contain discussions of legislative intent, a short history of a bill, and comparisons of current and proposed law text.

Reports are assigned separate sequential numbers within each Chamber (e.g., H. Rpt. 99-1, S. Rpt. 99-1). Since 1969 (91st Congress) the assigned number has included the Congress number as an intrinsic part of the report number.

What's a document?

Congressional committees also issue documents.  Congressional documents may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations.

More Resources

Below is a collection of links to more resources on legislative history, legislative process, and legislative research. 

Finding Reports by Citation