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Federal Legislative History

This research guide provides assistance to UCLA School of Law students tracing the legislative history of a federal statute.

What is a Hearing?

Bills are assigned to standing committees of the House or Senate, where hearings are held to investigate concerns and elicit views of persons interested or experts in proposed legislation. 

Typically, committees will post selected statements and video to their websites at the time of the hearing.

It generally takes about two months to two years for the committee to produce a published hearing, which compiles the various statements made at the hearing. Each published hearing is assigned a number that includes the chamber and session number. For example, S. Hrg. 112-668 was a hearing held in the Senate, in the 112th Congress.

Lexis, ProQuest Congressional, and HeinOnline for Hearings

Generally, the most comprehensive sources for hearings are Lexis, ProQuest Congressional, and HeinOnline:

Free Websites for Hearings

If you are not a current UCLA student, faculty, or staff member, and cannot come to the UCLA campus to access ProQuest Congressional or HeinOnline from the UCLA wireless or library computers, you can access PDFs of some hearings for free online:

Westlaw for Hearings

Westlaw provides selected testimony from some Congressional hearings:

Print Copies of Hearings

The law library owns some print copies of hearings, located on the A Level and organized by Sudoc numbers, special call numbers for government documents. Each print hearing is published individually and assigned its own Sudoc number beginning with Y 4. For example, S. Hrg. 112-668 was assigned the Sudoc number Y 4.V 64/4:S.HRG.112-668.

To check if the law library owns a specific hearing and find the hearing's call number, search by the hearing title, committee name, or other keywords in the library catalog: