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U.S. Government Documents: Laws

Online resources

CQ Congress Collection (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Includes bill text (full-text 1995 forward), floor votes, bill comparison, and various customizable bill and vote reports.

FDsys

Includes bills (full-text 1993 forward), history of bills, calendars, documents & reports (full-text 1995 forward), Congressional Record and its Index, public laws (full-text 1994 forward), the U.S. Code, Congressional Directory, and a history of line item veto notices.

Legislative Sourcebook (Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.)

Includes a weekly list of newly released hearings, newly enacted public laws, a table of Congressional publication volumes and Presidential issuances, and a guide to the U.S. Serial Set.

Project Vote Smart

Includes a wealth of facts on candidates and elected officials, voting records, campaign finances, major bills, voting records and the text of bill.

Proquest Congressional (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Includes the Congressional Record, bills and bill tracking (full-text 1989 forward), legislative histories, public laws (full-text 1988 forward), hearings (full-text 1824 forward), documents (full-text 1789 forward), reports (full-text 1789 forward), committee prints (selective full-text 1824 forward), biographical, financial and voting information for members of Congress.

THOMAS

Find bill texts and legislative histories from 1973 to the present.


Laws

A bill can become a law in several ways: (1) if the President approves the bill, (2) if the President does not return the bill with objections within 10 days (excluding Sundays) after it has been presented, or (3) if the bill is passed by both Houses over the objections of the President. It is then assigned a public or private law number, and published in the form known as a "slip law." If it is a public law it is also paginated for the Statutes at Large volume covering that session of Congress. The Statutes at Large are a chronological arrangement of the laws exactly as they have been enacted including their legislative history. 

  • Public slip laws from the current Congress are shelved at AE 2.110: in the Documents Collection on A floor.
  • Statutes At Large, 1st Congress to present (1789- ):  in paper, located at KF50.xU5 in Firestone Library (non-circulating). Also available via Proquest Congressional.
  • U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (1952-2011):  the print volumes are located in Recap (request retrieval from the Main Catalog).
  • U.S. Code (1940 ed.-2000 ed. ):  in paper, located at KF62 (year) in Firestone Library (non-circulating).
  • U.S. Code (2008 and 2012 ed.): in paper, located at Y 1.2/5: in the Documents Collection on A floor. 
  • U.S. Code (1994 ed.- ):  available via FDsys.
  • U.S. Code (current ed.):  searchable via Proquest Congressional.
  • U.S. Code Annotated (1927- ):  in paper, located at KF62 1927.W45 1927 in Firestone Library (non-circulating).
  • U.S. Code Annotated (current ed.):  searchable via Westlaw Campus.

Depository Info

The general public is welcome to use depository materials free of charge. For access information and hours, please consult the the online hours (choose "Firestone Library - Depository Access" from the drop down menu), Access Information Page, and the Firestone Access Office

PLEASE NOTE:  While the general public is welcome to use depository materials free of charge, many of our U.S. Government resources, including many of the resources listed in this research guide, are not depository materials and may only be used by Princeton University students, faculty, and staff.  This includes most of the electronic resources such as Proquest Congressional and Hein Online.

Princeton University Library adheres to the following policies set by the Goverment Printing Office: FDLP Internet Use Policy Guidelines and Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats.