If you are unfamiliar with the path that a bill takes before (or if) it becomes a law, there are a number of useful resources available that can guide you through the process. Having a basic understanding of the steps of law-making will make it that much easier to choose the right resource for locating particular documents.
After a bill is introduced, it is assigned a bill or "legislative" number, printed and referred to a committee.There are four types of legislation: bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Listed below are their different designations:
|Bills||Designated by originating chamber (House or Senate) and sequential number.
S indicates Senate and HR indicates House of Representatives.
|Joint Resolution||Designated by originating chamber (House or Senate), J (joint) and sequential number.
(S. J. Res).
|Concurrent Resolution||Designated by originating chamber (House or Senate),and sequential number (H. Con. Res or S. Con. Res).|
|Simple Resolution||Designated by originating chamber (House or Senate), Res (resolution) and sequential number (S. Res or H. Res.).|
After the referral of a bill to committee, members of the House set a date for public hearings to hear witness testimony. Hearings are held for most substantive proposals. Business dealt with by hearings may be broadly classified into four types: legislative, oversight, investigative, and consideration of presidential nominations. Transcripts of most hearings are published and growing collections of videotaped congressional hearings are also available. Please note that not all hearings are published. Listed below are databases and other online resources for hearings.