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Federal Legislature

Bill Tracking Resources

Bill tracking is the process used to follow the path that proposed legislation has followed once introduced in the Legislature. It can be used to track current legislation to see if it is near passage or rejection. It can also be used retrospectively on older proposed legislation. These guides provide information on resources for accessing proposed legislation and tracking bills.

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff (2017)
This Congressional Research Service report provides information on governmental and nongovernmental sources for tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations.

Tracking Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Basic Sources (2005)
This Congressional Research Service report lists a variety of resources, including printed, online, and telephone sources, for tracking federal legislation and regulations.

The Government Domain: Tracking Congress 2.0 (2009)
This LLRX article by Peggy Garvin provides information on free, online resources for tracking federal legislative activities.

U.S. House of Representatives website
The website of the United States House of Representatives provides information on current legislative activity occurring in the House including bill status reports, floor activity, floor and committee schedules, and roll call votes.  The website also links to the Congressional Record, the Daily Digest, and to the websites of House members and House committees. 

U.S. Senate website
The website of the United States Senate provides information on current legislative activity occurring in the Senate including floor activity, recent votes, active legislation, and floor and committee schedules.  The website also links to a Senate floor webcast, the Daily Digest, and to the websites of Senate members and Senate committees.

Congress.gov (Library of Congress)
Congress.gov provides a wide variety of online federal legislative information.  There are two specific THOMAS resources that are helpful for bill tracking:

  • Search Bill Text
    Coverage is from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present. 
    Information is updated daily when Congress is in session.
    Searching can be done by keyword or bill number.
  • Search Bill Summary and Status
    Coverage is from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present.
    Information is updated every 24-48 hours.
    Searching can be done by keyword, bill number, state in legislative process, sponsor, date, or committee; bills can also be browsed.

Congress.gov also has a number of RSS feeds and e-mail update services to help you keep abreast of changes in federal legislation.

GovInfo
The GovInfo website has bill information for the 103rd Congress (1993) to the present.  Information is updated every day that Congress is in session.  Bills can be browsed by Congress or searched by keyword.  Information is available in PDF format.

GovTrack
GovTrack is a free website which provides access to federal and state legislative information which it obtains from government websites.  GovTrack lets you track bills and offers updates via e-mail alerts and RSS feeds, as well as provides a statistical analysis of legislation to help users determine a bill’s chances of being enacted.

ProQuest Congressional (available on campus or remotely with ASURITE)
ProQuest Congressional provides bill tracking for the 101st Congress (1989) to the present.  Information is updated daily when Congress is in session and the full-text of bills and resolutions are available. 

  • To use the bill tracking option, use the drop-down menus to select the Congress and bill type then enter the bill number.

Westlaw (Westlaw password required)
Westlaw has a number of searchable databases that are useful for federal bill tracking:

  • Federal Bill Tracking
    Contains summaries and status information for current legislation.  Bills are tracked from their introduction throughout the legislative process.
  • Federal Bill Tracking – Historical 
    Contains summaries and status information for bills considered in past federal legislative sessions, beginning with 2005. 
  • Westlaw allows users to save searches and use the Westclip service to have new documents which match a search delivered to the user.

Lexis (Lexis password required)
Lexis also has a number of searchable databases that are useful for federal bill tracking:

  • Bill Tracking Report – Current Congress 
    Allows a bill to be followed from introduction to signature by the President.  This database also provides an alert service which notifies the user of any change on a bill.