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The sources below will help you locate the text of federal laws. Many of the sources can be found in full online. For some sources, however, it may still be necessary to refer back to the print. Whenever possible, links are provided to both the online and print versions of a given source.
United States. Laws, etc. (Slip Laws)
Individual printing of laws as they are
passed. Filed by Public Law number. Retained until the appropriate
volume of the Statutes at Large are received.
Public and private laws are prepared and published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). FDsys contains the text of public and private laws enacted from the 104th Congress to the present. The database for the current session of Congress is updated when the publication of a slip law is authorized by OFR. Documents are available as ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
United States Public Laws
Govt Pub AE2.110
Also known as slip laws. This is the print version of the current session only. See also the Cumulative Volumes of United States Statutes At Large (AE 2.111:)
United States Statutes at Large
Official publication of the federal laws.
The text of the laws as Congress wrote them. Arrangement is by P.L.
number. Also included are Congressional resolutions and Presidential
proclamations. Private laws, i.e. those laws that affect only an
individual, are given in a separate section. Indexed by subject and
You will need to know the number of the Congress for the law you seek. Otherwise, you can do a keyword search for the law's name or the language included therein.
U.S. Statutes at Large
Govt Pub Mezzanine AE2.111
1789- (Annual). [v.1(1789)-v.97(1983) shelved under URI Govt. Pub. GS4.111:].
United States Code
"The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since 1926, the United States Code has been published every six years. In between editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information."
United States Code
Govt Pub Reference KF61 U558
(Earlier volumes in Serials Stacks, lower level of the library, call number KF61 .U558)
This is the official compilation of the federal laws currently in force. Arrangement is by title and part. Index is by subject. A “Tables” section gives cross-references to the popular name of a law and where it may be found in the Statutes at Large.
U.S. Code Service
Within LexisNexis click on the link that limits your search to "Legislative histories, bills, and laws." Within this page you will be able to limit your search to the U.S. Code and search it using a keyword or citation.
U.S. Code Service
URI Reference KF62 1972 L38
Current volumes only (Updated with annual pocket supplements and monthly issues).
Privately published version of the U.S. Code. Arrangement is by title and part. Includes for each law, cross-references to relevant regulations, court cases, and citations to legal research sources. Indexed by subject and name. Also includes a “Tables” volume that lists cross-references to the popular name of a law and where it may be found in the Statutes at Large.
The official system of record for online government providing electronic access to a wide variety of information produced by the federal government. All sources are authenticated as official and original copies. Full text sources include: Congressional Bills, Congressional Directory, Congressional Record, Congressional Hearings & Reports, U.S. Code, Public Laws, the CFR, the Federal Register, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, the Constitution, Supreme Court Decisions, and more.
1973-. (Updated daily)
This database contains the full text of Public Laws from the 101st Congress (1989-90) to the present. Laws may be searched by Public Law number, popular name or keyword. A detailed summary of each law, as well as an in-depth legislative history, including amendments, is given.
Provides citations and abstracting of congressional publications and the full text of congressional hearings, reports, documents, prints, bills, and the Congressional Record. Also includes the text of United States laws and regulations, biographical and voting information of members of congress, and more. Updated daily.
Other useful sources
Legal Research in a Nutshell
Call Number: URI Ref KF240 C54 2007
Textbook aimed at the beginning law student on how to find laws, including federal laws and related material. Indexed by subject and title.
Bieber’s Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations
A comprehensive list of abbreviations found in legal sources and what they mean. Useful for deciphering the system of Uniform Legal Citation, the shorthand method of citing legal sources.
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