Prior to tracking a bill or compiling the legislative history of a public law, the researcher should read as much as possible about the legislation in secondary sources. Reading commentary on the legislation of interest will focus one's research and avoid duplication of effort. The researcher should consult the sources below as appropriate as well as the popular press, especially the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.
ABI/Inform is a index to full-text articles from journals in business, finance, economics. A good source of articles discussing the economic or financial impact of legislation.
- PAIS International is the leading index of articles in scholarly journals an periodicals on topics related to public affairs, government, and public policy.
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports: These reports are written by Library of Congress researchers at the request of the Congress on significant policy issues. Selected reports are available online through OpenCRS.com, an initiative of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports: GAO Reports provide in-depth analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of federal legislative and regulatory initiatives.
Many advocacy groups and “think tanks” publish news and policy briefs about legislation which they favor or oppose. Information from these groups is often quite comprehensive. Although interest groups may have an axe to grind, they usually try to get the legislative facts straight.