HeinOnline's Tip of the Week: How to Search for a Public Law Number in HeinOnline

Searching, Statutes at Large, Tips and Tricks
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Looking for a public law number in HeinOnline? Conduct a search in the U.S. Statutes at Large library using one or several of the following attributes: the public law number, the title of the public law, citation to the U.S. Code, and/or a bill number. NOTE: The U.S. Statutes at Large library contains contains content through 2009, the 111th Congress.

For our examples, we will focus on Public Law 106-168 of the 106th Congress, titled “Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act”. This appears in Statutes at Large on Dec. 12, 1999 and references Bill Number S. 335. Open the U.S. Statutes at Large library and click on the Search tab at the top of the page. Then choose the Field Search option.

Search by Public Law Number
If you know the public law number, you can enter the following search:

Within the U.S. Statutes at Large Library, click on the search tab, then click on Advanced Search.  Select Public Law Number from the drop down box and enter 106-168 next to it.  Click search.

This will return 1 result, with a link to Public Law 106-168 found at 113 Stat. 1806.

To enter this as an One-Box Search, enter the following search query:

Search by the Title Name of the Public Law
If you do not know the public law number but have a name or title, you can build a keyword search by entering the following into the Advanced Search Option:

Click the first drop down box and select text, then enter “Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement” in quotation marks in the next box.  Click the second drop down box and select text, then enter the phrase “Public Law” in quotation marks in the adjacent box.  Click search.

The list of results includes a direct link to 113 Stat. 1806, where the title is found.

Search by Bill Number
If you only know the Bill Number, you can conduct the following search:

In the Advanced Search option select text from the first drop down menu.  Enter “S.335” in quotation marks.  Click search.

This example will return 7 results, within which we can find our match to 113 Stat. 1806.  Click on View Matching Text Pages to see the page where S.335 is cited.  You may then click on “Turn to page” to turn to the particular page within that result that cites S.335.  When clicking through to the matching text page, you will notice that in many cases you are directed to the last page of the section. The reason for this is because at the end of each public law there is a footnote that lists references to other works as are related to that public law, including the reference to the bill number. These references are valuable if you are looking for supplemental research on the public law. In this example, if you are subscribed to the U.S. Congressional Documents library, the Federal Register, and/or the U.S. Presidential Library, you can browse to or search those collections for the references listed.



To navigate to the first page of the section where the public law is listed, click on the Table of Contents tab. Your current location is highlighted in yellow. Simply click on the link to the page of the section you are in (in this example, page 1806) and you’ll be directed to the first page of the section.


To further refine your results, you can add a date to the 2nd search box. The dates in the Statutes at Large are in the following format: “December 12, 1999”. In the above example, add “December 12, 1999” in quotation marks to the second search box, and select Text from the drop down menu. When you click search, you will get 1 result. NOTE: You can add a date to any search to refine your results.


Search by U.S. Code Citation:

Another method to search for the public law number is using the U.S. Code Citation, which may be noted in the context of the public law. We can enter the following search in quotation marks:

This search will also return a larger list of results. To narrow the results, we could add the date to the search.

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