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PS 4173: The Legislative Process

Library Resources for Dr. Lia Merivaki's course

Checks and Balances

US Congress

Congressional Documents Online:

  • Up-to-date access to legislative information. Search by name, sponsor, text, number to find out the status of any piece of legislation, passed or pending.
  • Current activity, history and profiles for current US Senators.
  • US House of Representatives Hearings, legislative schedules, and links to individual Representative profiles.
  • A Century of Law Making from the Library of Congress Online records and acts of Congress from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention through the 43rd Congress, including the first three volumes of the Congressional Record, 1873-75.

Finding Bills Online

The Congressional Record

After each day that Congress is in session, the proceedings are printed in the Congressional Record (CR) and available the following morning. Daily Congressional proceedings may include legislative activity by the chambers and their committees, Member remarks, communications from the president, and more.

bound congressional record volumes

Accessing the Congressional Record:

  • Print volumes @ MSU Libraries: not all volumes of the Congressional Record are officially available online. When you cannot find what you need on Congress.Gov or on the Library of Congress web site, we recommend using our official depository print collection. Our Mississippi Political Collections (4th fl) houses the Libraries' collection of bound Congressional Record volumes (through the mid 1980's) and Indexes (to present).
  • 1989-present: Congress.Gov provides numerous ways to access all sections of the Congressional Record. Its in-depth search features will greatly enhance your research. This access to the Congressional Record is considered legally official as are the bound volumes you will find at your depository library.
  • Continental Congress -1875: the Library of Congress provides access to primary source materials for the first century of lawmaking in our nation, including predecessors to the Congressional Record. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation is a gold mine of early Congressional documents.
  • Miscellaneous Online Sources: the following online sources provide a variety of access to volumes of the Congressional Record and its predecessors. Search functions and downloading and print functions will vary. These sources are likely most helpful if you have already identified the volumes and pages you want to see. LLMC Digital, Hathi Trust, Google Books, Internet Archive

Finding Hearings

Senate, House, joint, or special committee congressional hearings are usually open to the public; their purpose is to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. Hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, as members of Congress gather information in preparation for future legislation. Transcripts of hearings include texts of prepared statements submitted during the hearing, prepared remarks by committee members, exhibits, and live testimony.

Finding hearings online:

  • GovInfo links to full transcripts of hearings; you can also search for hearings by title or keywords in the online Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. Many of the records in the Catalog contain permanent links (PURLs) to online hearing transcripts.
  • The House of Representatives and Senate websites contain links to congressional committee pages, which contain hearing information. Some committees only post hearing schedules, while others provide links to transcripts of recent and archived hearings and live webcasts.

Hearings In MSU Libraries' Collections

  • Historical Congressional Committee Hearings Microfiche (1833-1969): hearings in the Greenwood Collection on microfiche are listed in the Libraries' Online Catalog. Free scanning is available for microfiche, and printing is available in Mitchell Memorial Library's computer labs.