Legislative Information from the U.S. Congress & Utah Legislature: Congress.gov (search engine)

Be an informed citizen! Find out about federal and Utah lawmakers.

Useful links

Marriott Library Databases

Access requires UNID and Password.


Tips for using Congress.gov

Congress.gov is a search engine that that helps you follow the “paper trail” of Congressional legislation sources.

  • Information is 1973-present.
  • The Roll Call Votes index shows you which number and session of Congress met each year.

News articles usually tell you the subject of a bill, but seldom mention the bill number.  To make things even more complicated bills have both a Title and a Short Title, as well as a House and a Senate version. So  the exact same bill from the 11th Congress might be called any of the following:

  • America's Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2009 [short title]
  • To designate as wilderness certain Federal portions of the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin Deserts in Utah for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. [long title]
  • H.R. 1925 [House Resolution]
  • S. 799 [Senate Bill]

Interpreting legislative information

H.R.146 : An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] (introduced 1/6/2009)      Cosponsors (10)
Committees: House Natural Resources
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 111-11 [GPO: Text, PDF]
Note: Omnibus land bill.

In the newspaper, this bill was usually called the "Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009"

H.R. 146 means this is the 146th Bill from the 111th Congress.  Click on the bill number to see congressional actions (like who voted for and against it). 

The word "omnibus" means that congress lumped together a bunch of other bills into a single piece of legislation.   Rep. Rush Holt sponsored lumping everything together, but if you look up "related bills" you will see that other members of Congress sponsored most of the content of this bill.  For instance, Rob Bishop [UT-1] introduced H.R.146 that was part of the omnibus bill.

The fact that this is an Omnibus bill means that hearings, references in the Congressional Record, Committee Reports and other related documents are attached to all of the previous bills that were compiled into this one.

Note that this bill passed  and it was not vetoed by the president so now it is PL 111-11 and it will  be inserted into  relevant parts of the U.S. Code.

Congressional Research Service

The Congressional Research Service writes research reports at the request of members of Congress: They do not publish these reports for the public, but you can often find them on the Web.

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