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LAW 4023: Legal Issues in Human Resources: United States Bills, Laws, & Hearings

LAW 4023

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Definitions and Resources

Bills - Congressional bills are legislative proposals from the House of Representatives and Senate within the United States Congress. There are multiple types of bills.

  • House bills (H.R.) and Senate bills (S.) require the approval of both chambers (i.e. House and Senate) and the signature of the president to become law.
  • House Joint Resolutions (H.J. Res.) and Senate Joint Resolutions (S.J. Res.) require the approval of both chambers and the signature of the president. Joint resolutions generally are used for limited matters, such as a single appropriation for a specific purpose and to propose amendments to the Constitution.
  • House Concurrent Resolutions (H. Con. Res.) and Senate Concurrent Resolutions (S. Con. Res.) require the approval of both chambers but do not require the signature of the president and do not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions generally are used to make or amend rules that apply to both chambers.
  • House Simple Resolutions (H. Res.) and Senate Simple Resolutions (S. Res.) address matters entirely within the prerogative of one chamber or the other. They do not require the approval of the other chamber or the signature of the president, and they do not have the force of law.

Public Laws -  Public laws affect society as a whole and make up most of the laws passed by Congress.

Private Laws -  Private laws affect an individual, family, or small group.

The GovInfo offers the ability to search bills and laws as debated and voted on in Congress.

  • Congressional Bills from the 103rd Congress (1993-1994) to present.  Materials are divided by the nature of the document (bill or resolution) and the house of Congress where it orginated (House, Senate, or Joint)
  • Public and Private Laws can be searched from the 104th Congress (1995-1996) to present.  Once a particular year is chosen, the ability to search public, and if available, private laws will be offered by the range of law numbers, in groups of 100. makes United States federal legislative information freely available to the public. The site contains legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present, members of Congress profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and selected member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972).

Congressional Hearings

Congressional Documents

Congressional Reports

How Laws are Made and How to Research Them

Commonly Requested U.S. Laws and Regulations