Tracing Legislation in Illinois: A Guide to Selected Sources
Current Legislation and Information
Illinois General Assembly
web page for the following information for the current General Assembly:
Legislation & Laws
- Bills & Resolutions (searchable by bill number or key word)
- Public Acts (full text, searchable by public act number or key word)
- Illinois Compiled Statutes
- Illinois Constitution
Senate & House
- Schedules of meetings/hearings
- Journals of the Senate & House
- Transcripts of debates
Reports & Inquiry
- Legislative Reports
- My Legislation
- Links to legislative support services including:
- Legislative Reference Bureau
- "Researching Legislative History"
- "Guide to Drafting Legislative Documents"
- Legislative Research Unit
First Reading - a legislative newsletter
County Data Book
- "How a Bill Becomes Law"
- Legislator lookup
- Capital complex telephone numbers
Current information about proposed legislation is sometimes posted on state agency home pages. For links to state agency home pages, see
Legislative History and Intent
The House and Senate debates are considered the primary source for determining legislative intent in Illinois. However, publication of the debates did not begin until 1971. The Illinois General Assembly web site provides legislative information online (including transcripts of the debates) beginning with the 77th General Assembly (1971-72). Lovejoy Library also maintains print and/or microfiche for the following publications for the dates indicated:
Legislative Synopsis and Digest - current issues, Call # J 87.I3 (Stx)
Arranged by bill or resolution number
Gives actions on and status of pending legislation, amendments, committee and floor actions
Includes subject and sponsor indexes at the back of each volume
Published weekly when Legislature is in session
Final Legislative Synopsis and Digest - 1921- . Call # J 87.I3 (Stx)
Provides legislative history for each bill introduced in that session
Useful for finding bill number
Published annually after the session ends; includes subject and sponsor index
House Debates - 1971-1998, 77th-90th General Assemblies (microfiche)
Senate Debates - 1971-1998, 77th-90th General Assemblies (microfiche)
Text of floor debates of legislation in the House and the Senate
Considered primary source for determining legislative intent in Illinois after 1971
Not published for General Assemblies prior to 1971
Available online via the Illinois General Assembly web page
Print indexes for the microfiche are available in the Microforms Dept.
Call # J 87.I3F Index and J 87.I3 Index
House Journal - 1836-1999 call # J 87.I3C (Stx); 1978-1994 (microfiche)
Senate Journal - 1834-1999 call # J 87.I3B (Stx); 1978-1994 (microfiche)
Record each step necessary to final passage of a bill
Record each bill as it is introduced, all amendments, resolutions, committee
Report messages from the Governor and other House and vote on passage
Provide conversion tables showing public act numbers of bills passed
Prepared after each legislative day
House Bills - 1979-1994 (microfiche)
Senate Bills - 1979-1994 (microfiche)
Laws and Codes
West's Illinois Legislative Service - 1984 - . Call number KFI 1230.S42 (Stx)
- One of the first published sources for newly enacted legislation
- Gives text of bills passed with deletions & additions to original bill indicated
- Arranged by public act number; includes subject index
Laws, Statutes, etc. Public Acts - 1979-1994 (microfiche)
Provides text, name of chief sponsor, and bill number for public act
Arranged by public act number
Laws of the State of Illinois ("Session Laws") 1934-1999 Call # KFI 1225.I45 (Stx)
Lists bill number, public act number, actions on, & effective date of enacted bills
Gives text of public acts, resolutions, executive orders, and proclamations
Includes subject index; published annually
Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS)
Codifies legislation adopted by the General Assembly
Includes subject index; published biennially
Formerly Illinois Revised Statutes
Illinois Administrative Code
. Online 2002 - current year
Source for official public notice of rule-making activity by the state agencies
Provides text of proposed rules, adopted rules and emergency rules
Published weekly to update the Illinois Administrative Code
Also available in print for current year, call # KFI 12351977.A22 and on microfiche for 1977-1999
Almanac of Illinois Politics - 1990 - . Print: Ref JK 5731.A45; older in Stx
House and Senate member information and votes on key issues
Campaign expenditures & historical election data
Demographic data by district
Illinois Blue Book - Print: Ref JK 5730.A25; older in stx and microfiche
Information about state government offices and agencies
Biographies of state officials
Text of state & federal constitutions
Illinois Handbook of Government - Online. Current Print: Ref JK 5736.A472
Handbook of Illinois Government, 1907-1994; Print: Stx JK 5736.A47
Published in alternate years to update the
Illinois Blue Book
- 1976- . Online from publisher. Print: SIUE Journal Collection.
State Journal-Register - Current two weeks at Circulation Desk; older kept in SIUE Journal Collection (2nd floor) until microfilm received.
Chicago Tribune - Current two weeks at Circulation Desk; older kept in SIUE Journal Collection until microfilm received; microfilm: 1969- .
- Legislative Research Unit. Online via General Assembly home page.
Print: current five years in SIUE Journal Collection.
Preface to Lawmaking 2006
(21st Annual New Members Conference, Springfield, IL, Illinois Legislative Research Unit, 2006.
Basic information about the legislative process.
Researching Legislative History
by Richard C. Edwards, Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau, 1996.
Wendt, Laurel A. "Researching Illinois Legislative Histories: A Practical Guide,"
University Law Journal, vol. 4, 1982, pp. 601-623.
SIUE Journal Collection, 2nd floor
Please direct questions or comments about this guide to Linda Carlisle, Social Sciences Librarian,
Library & Information Services, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at