Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Legislative history research refers to efforts to track the progress of a bill through the legislative process and to the examination of documents created through that process. The purpose of conducting such research is to ascertain the legislative intent, that is the purpose for the legislation as intended by Congress. In the words of Morris Cohen, Legal Research in a Nutshell, 6th ed. (1996), at 160:
"The ambiguities so common in the language of statutes require lawyers and scholars to locate legislative documents from which they can learn the intended purpose of an act or the meaning of particular statutory language."
The processes that comprise legislative history are, therefore, of two distinct types: determining the meaning or intent of an enacted law, and ascertaining the status of a pending bill. The specific components of a legislative history consist of the bill and its successive amendments, remarks by the bill's sponsors, floor discussion and debate, committee hearings, committee reports and committee prints.
These documents can be researched at the Interior Library and will involve the use of a combination of print, microform, Internet resources, and other electronic databases. These sources are discussed and compared below.
Locating Compiled Legislative Histories
Three print publications offer bibliographies or lists of compiled legislative histories:
Johnson, Nancy P. Sources of compiled legislative histories: a bibliography of government documents, periodical articles, and books, 1st Congress-94th Congress. Littleton, Colo: Published for the American Association of Law Libraries by F.B. Rothman, 1979- KF42.2 1979 Also available on HeinOnline
Reams, Bernard D. Federal Legislative histories: an annotated bibliography and index to officially published sources. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, c1994. KF42.2 1994
Union List of Legislative Histories: 1993 supplement updates information through the 102nd Congress, 1992, 6th Edition; Littleton, Colo.: F.B. Rothman & Co., 1993. KF4 .U55 1993 (Housed in the Law Librarian's Office)
Locating Legislative Histories from Indexes and Compilations
Several multi-volume library sources provide legislative history documents and/or access points to specific documents. The sets published by the Congressional Information Service (CIS) are more comprehensive than the West Group's United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN).
Nevertheless, research in the USCCAN takes less time, involves no research in microforms or other voluminous sets of printed materials, and can provide selected hearings and reports and appropriate citations to discussion in the Congressional Record (housed on Deck Four). Use of the CIS tools can take time and will require the use of microforms and voluminous sets of legislative hearings, prints and reports in order to yield a definitive set of documents to illustrate legislative intent.
CIS Annual. Washington, D.C.: CIS, 1970- REF KF49 .C62 Includes Index, Abstracts and Legislative Histories, and Four Year Cumulative Index volumes and provides access to CIS microfiche. Microfiche contain committee reports hearings and prints.
CIS U.S. Congressional Committee Prints Index: From the Earliest Publications through 1969. Washington, D.C.: CIS, c1980. REF Z1223 .Z7 C65 1975
CIS Serial Set Index. Washington, D.C.: CIS, c1975-c1997. REF Z1223 .Z7 C65 1975 Provides access to congressional documents in print set and microfiche set and includes Index and Carto-bibliography of maps, 1789-1969.
United States Code Congressional and Administrative News. St. Paul, Minn.: West Pub Co., 1944-
ProQuest Congressional Collections
The Interior Library has access to digitized collections offered by ProQuest. They cover congressional hearings that date from 1817 onward and offer digitized copies of Congressional Research Service (and earlier Legislative Reference Service) reports from 1916 to date, as well as congressional Committee Prints from 1817 onward.
Committee prints include items such as topical monographic studies; investigative field reports; analyses of bills, including comparisons with existing law; staff memoranda and reports; reports submitted to the committee by Federal agencies; directories, bibliographies, and other reference materials; statistical compilations; complete or partial texts of committee hearings; and preliminary drafts of reports and bills.
In all, the ProQuest Congressional Collections include:
Legislative histories, 1969 to the present
Bills and laws, 1987 to the present
Committee prints & miscellaneous publications, 1817 to the present
Congressional Record Bound Edition and predecessors, 1873-1999
Congressional Record Daily Edition, 1985 to the present
CRS Reports, 1916 to the present
Hearings, 1817 to the present
House & Senate Documents, 1817 to the present
House & Senate Reports, 1817 to the present
U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1789-2003
U.S. Congressional Serial Set maps, 1789-1969
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
The U.S. Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports bound by session of Congress. It began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers. In general, it includes: committee reports related to bills and other matters, presidential communications to Congress, treaty materials, certain executive department publications, and certain non-governmental publications.
During much of the 19th century, especially in the pre-Civil War era, the Serial Set included materials originating not only from the U.S. Congress but also key Executive Department publications that were published only or primarily in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.
The U.S. Congressional Serial Set is now available in a digital version, including maps and plates.
Digitized from the original print volumes in partnerships with leading academic institutions and government organizations, the set features high-resolution full-color digital images, fully searchable OCR-generated ASCII text and full bibliographic metadata for every publication. It is cross-searchable with American State Papers, 1789-1838, which contains every legislative and executive document of the 1st through 14th Congresses.
To track the status of a pending bill, use the CCH Congressional Index (housed at KF49 .C6). This is a loose-leaf service updated weekly. It indexes bills by subject and author, maintains biographies on all Federal legislators, lists the members of all committees and subcommittees, summarizes bills and resolutions, describes the voting records on each bill and describes the status of each bill with the dates for each transaction.
One can conduct the same research on bill status through Congress.gov or FDSys.
This Week in Congress comprises a companion newsletter to the CCH Congressional Index. A double-sided sheet highlights major legislative developments each week.
Quick Guide to Legislative Histories
The following charts describe the best sources for research regarding specific Congressional sessions and for specific steps in the legislative process.
Where to Look
1st - 91st (1789-1969)
Serial Set Indexes:
For Rpts. & Docs: Burgundy books
For Hearings: Blue books
Hearings will be in microfiche form, unless Library has retained a print copy.
91st(2) - present (1970-present)
CIS Indexes (Black books) Refer to reports, docs AND hearings.
Hearings in fiche only, unless Library has retained a print copy.
78th(2) - present (1949 - present)
Public law text; references to legislative materials. May be edited, so check other sources.