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Legal Research and Writing

Legislative History

Legislative History

Learn about the documents produced during the legislative process and how to find and use them.


Legislation is created by a process of drafting, discussion, amendment, study, and voting, culminating with a signature from the executive (either the president of the United States or a governor of the state). Until signature, a piece of legislation is still just a bill—a draft, not a law. The legislative process tends to be slow: a bill can take up to two years to become law. It could actually take longer, but if a bill doesn't pass by the end of the congressional term, legislators...