Thursday, February 19, 2015

Committee Name Game

The intricacies of legislative history beset many a researcher.  Changes in the legislative process can further complicate an already difficult process.  For example, in 2011, the House of Representatives adopted a new rule requiring a Constitutional Authority Statement linking every bill or joint resolution to specific constitutional bases.  This rule produces a new legislative history document, one which

Another congressional change in the news involves committee names.  Understandably, some committee names evolve with the culture or with technology, as when Committee on Roads and Canals became the Committee on Railways and Canals and now the Transportation Committee.  Of late, Senator Cornyn has removed "civil rights" and "human rights" from the name of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee he chairs, leaving it the Constitution subcommittee.  Tracing multiple attempts at a bill over a series of Congresses may mean researchers will encounter unfamiliar committee names.

If you'd like to know more about the history of legislative committees, the House of Representatives Committee History and the Senate's Origins and Development are good places to start.