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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 where this information is available on GPO Access, the Government Printing Office's online service of official legislative and regulatory materials.

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

Where to find this information on GPO Access

H.R. 408 - Introduced VersionThe first step in H.R. 408's journey was its introduction to 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 was published by the Government Printing Office (GPO).

Read when H.R. 408 was introduced in the Congressional Record database. Text | PDF

Read the Introduced Version in the Congressional Bills database. Text | PDF


House 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.

Read the Reported Version in the Congressional Bills database. Text | PDF

Read the reports on H.R. 408 in the Congressional Reports database.
Text | PDF


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. 262 voted yea, 166 voted nay, and 6 did not vote.

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

Read the debate and see the vote of H.R. 408 in the Congressional Record database. Text | PDF


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.

Read the Engrossed Version in the Congressional Bills database. Text | PDF