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Tracking Legislation
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Now that you have learned the steps a bill takes to become a law, let's show how that model works with a real bill. In addition, you'll learn how to obtain this information on GPO Access. This is the Government Publishing Office's online server of official legislative and regulatory materials.

Since this bill was active in 1997, remember to choose the year 1997 when using the databases on GPO Access. Also, whenever typing a phrase in a search terms box use quotation marks for more specific results. When you do a search in a database, documents are available in ASCII text and PDF formats.

Tracking the legislative history of H.R. 408,
The International Dolphin Conservation Program Act

How to find this information on GPO Access

H.R. 408 - Introduced VersionThe first step in H.R. 408's journey was its introduction in Congress. The number H.R. 408 indicates that the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives.

On January 9, 1997, the bill was introduced by its sponsor (Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland) and recorded in the Congressional Record.

At this point, the Introduced Version (the very first version) of the bill is published by the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

To find when H.R. 408 was introduced in the Congressional Record database, choose the year 1997 and type "H.R. 408" AND Gilchrest in the search terms box. It should be your 7th result -- cr09ja97H, Public Bills and Resolutions. CR stands for Congressional Record, 09ja97 is the date January 9, 1997, and H stands for the House.

To find the Introduced Version in the Congressional Bills database, choose the 105th Congress and type "H.R. 408" in the search terms box. The introduced version (ih) should be your 7th result. Look for the result that says, "Introduced in House."

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Committee on Ways and MeansNext, H.R. 408 was assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee for closer analysis. After debating the bill, the committee released the Reported Version of the bill, and referred the bill to the House floor.

To find the Reported Version in the Congressional Bills database, choose the year 1997 and type "H.R. 408" in the search terms box. The reported version (rh) should be your 5th result -- H.R. 408 (rh).*

You can also read the reports on H.R. 408 in the Congressional Reports database. Choose the 105th Congress, check both the House and Senate reports, and type "H.R. 408" in the search terms box. There are three reports on this bill: H.Rpt.105-74, Pt. 1, H.Rpt.105-74, Pt. 2, and H.Rpt.105-103 H.R. 408.

* In the Text version, added text is enclosed in quotes. Deleted text is preceded by a <DELETED> tag and followed by a </DELETED> tag. In the PDF version, added text is presented in italics. Deleted text is stricken through with a line.

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The House of RepresentativesOnce released, H.R. 408 went on the House Calendar. The full House debated H.R. 408 and on May 21, 1997 voted in its favor. There were 262 yeas, 166 nays, and 6 no votes.

View H.R. 408 on the calendar in the House Calendars database.
Not available at this time.

To find the debate over H.R. 408 in the Congressional Record database, choose the year 1997 and type "H.R. 408" in the search terms box. It should be your 1st result -- cr21my97H.

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H.R. 408 - Engrossed VersionFinally, the House released the Engrossed Version of the bill. At this point, the bill officially became known as an Act.

To find the Engrossed Version in the Congressional Bills database, choose the 105th Congress and type "H.R. 408" in the search terms box. The engrossed version (eih) should be your 4th result. Look for the result that says, "Engrossed in House."

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