Answered By: Kate Britt
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2022     Views: 20

Compiled legislative histories are comprised of documents that are produced by a legislative body as a bill is introduced, studied, and debated. These legislative documents are often used to help determine the intent behind a law or to clarify ambiguous statutory language. 

Finding a previously compiled legislative history can be a real time-saver, but sometimes you have to compile the history yourself.

Starting Research

  • The Library has research guides for Federal and Michigan legislative history.
  • There are “how to conduct legal research” books and guides that may provide help on how to conduct a legislative history search for each state. Search the Library catalog for particular resources.
  • Indiana University School of Law Library provides a comprehensive State Legislative History Research Guide.


  • The Law Library does not carry bills or other legislative materials for other states. Obtain bill text and tracking through Nexis Uni.
    • Menu (top left of homepage) > All Sources > Jurisdiction (pick state) > Category (Statutes and Legislation) > Add "Bill Tracking Reports" and/or "Full-Text Bills" as Search Filters 
  • MultiState Associates tracks all 50 states’ legislative presence online, including full-text bills, status, and comments.
  • LLSDC’s Legislative Source Book provides state legislative information as well as guides to legislative research.

Finding Compiled Legislative Histories

  • HeinOnline U.S. Federal Legislative History Library includes full text versions of published legislative histories as well as legislative history finding aids.
  • On LexisNexis: Statutes & Legislation > Legislative Histories. Then choose a jurisdiction or subject area.
  • On Westlaw: Legislative History is on the All Content tab on the main page, in the third column.

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