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LEGL School of Public Policy and Graziadio Business Law

Use the resources in this guide to locate research and policy around laws and legislation.

What are Statutes?

West's Encyclopedia of American Law defines a statute as "an act of a legislature that declares, proscribes, or commands something; a specific law, expressed in writing." Unlike case law decided by the court system or regulations defined by government agencies, statutes are passed by either state or federal legislature. Statutes are often referred to as legislation and are considered to have primary authority as a source of law. 

*Statute. (2005). In S. Phelps & J. Lehman (Eds.), West's Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed., Vol. 9, pp. 329-330). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from

Using Lexis Nexis to Locate Statutes (Library Database)

  • Click on the Criminal Justice image link at the bottom of the page
  • Under Search State and Federal Statutes select Federal (shift slider to the left)
  • Enter search terms in the box provided
  • Click Find
  • Under Narrow By on the left hand side of the page under Sources select USCS

Locating U.S. Code on the Web (Free Resources)

Researching Pending Legislation

Find pending federal legislation by searching the site. Select either Bill Searches and Lists or Bill Texts.


Proquest Legislative Insights

ProQuest Legislative Insight

Selected compiled U.S. Congressional legislative histories, with links to the full-text of most of the identified documents.