About the ISBA

Legislation FAQ

I need to research the legislative history of a public act or of a statute. What is available?

The General Assembly transcribes all floor debates of bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments since 1970. You may get a written transcript of the debate or a CD for more recent debates. For directions on how to do that, please see the next question and answer.

You may also get a CD of the transcript of House committee hearings from 1975 to present. To do so, please call the House of Representatives' Committee Clerk at (217) 782-8100. The Senate does not tape its committee hearings.

How do I get a written transcript of the floor debates?

  1. For floor debate transcripts for the current General Assembly, you must call House transcribing at (217) 782-1038 for House debates, and Senate transcribing at (217) 782-6653. These transcripts will eventually be added to the Illinois General Assembly's Web site as well.
  2. For all previous General Assemblies since October 1971 (the 77th General Assembly), please go to the General Assembly's website at www.ilga.gov. Under "Additional Resources" click on "Previous General Assemblies" and select the General Assembly in which your legislation was debated or enacted or both.

How do I download transcripts from the General Assembly's website?

If you want to research legislative history of a bill, you must know which days the bill was debated in each chamber (House and Senate). Debate transcripts on the General Assembly Web site are organized by day. Generally, you will start by looking at the Bill Status to determine the days the bill was on the order of second readings (floor amendments), third reading, concurrence, and conference committee reports in each chamber.

This information is on the General Assembly website under the heading "Additional Resources." Click on "Previous Assemblies." You will need Adobe Acrobat to download the transcripts.

To look for a bill in the 77th General Assembly through the 89th General Assembly, here is an example.

If you are searching for Senate Bill 59 from the 82nd General Assembly:

Make sure you are on the General Assembly website, www.ilga.gov. Double-click "Previous Assemblies," which is under the heading of "Additional Resources." On the drop-down arrow find "82nd," click "Go," double-click on "Listing" for the Senate. Double-click on "Master List." You will be in Adobe Acrobat, click on the "Binoculars" and search for the bill number, e.g., Senate Bill 59. This will give you the dates to look for in the transcripts.

Go back and click on the down-arrow by "Choose a Transcript," scroll down and find the corresponding dates that you found in the "Master List." Double-click on the date and you will be in Adobe Acrobat. Click on the "Binoculars" and search for the bill number, e.g., Senate Bill 59. You can then print the information you need.

To look for a bill in the 90th General Assembly to the current General Assembly, here is an example.

If you are searching for Senate Bill 823 from the 92nd General Assembly:

Make sure you are on the General Assembly website, www.ilga.gov. Double-click "Previous Assemblies," which is under the heading of "Additional Resources." On the drop-down arrow find "92nd," click "Go," double-click on "Listing" for "Legislation and Laws." Type in the box, SB 823 or you can find it on the list. Click on "Bill Status." You will need to look through the Bill Status sheet to determine the days the bill was on the order of second readings (floor amendments), third reading, concurrence, and conference committee reports in each chamber. Click on the "Back" button three times and click on "Listing" for Senate Transcripts. Click on the down-arrow by "Choose a Transcript," scroll down and find the corresponding dates that you found in the "Bill Status." You will be in Adobe Acrobat. Click on the "Binoculars" and search for the bill number, e.g., Senate Bill 823, or just 823. Click the back button and you can search for the other dates.

Is there a guide or helpful hints available when using the General Assembly website?

Yes, go to the General Assembly's Guide at this URL: http://www.ilga.gov/legisnet/usinglegislation.html

What about other legislative documents?

  1. For various legislative documents (bills, amendments, conference committee reports, roll calls, etc.) from 1819 through the 89th General Assembly, contact the Illinois State Archives at (217) 782-4866.
  2. For various legislative documents (bills, amendments, conference committee reports, roll calls, etc.) for the 90th General Assembly to the present, you may also download them from the Illinois General Assembly's website at this URL: http://www.ilga.gov/legisnet/legismain.html

Is there an easy way to learn the status of bills that have been sent to the Governor?

Yes. Visit the legislation service on the Illinois General Assembly's website or call the Legislation Information System at (217)782-3356 for the latest action on pending legislation.

Can I get a copy of pending legislation?

Again, visit the Illinois General Assembly's website. Click on "Full Text" of the bill.