Home > news > Press Releases

Rep. Brat and Rep. Moulton introduce Legislation to Increase Access to U.S. Legal History

f t # e
Washington, March 28, 2017 | Juliana Heerschap (202-225-2815) | comments
WASHINGTON - Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) introduced the bipartisan Statutes at Large Modernization Act, H.R. 1729. This legislation will require the U.S. Statutes at Large to be placed online in a digital and searchable format, just like the U.S. Code. By modernizing these legal statutes, the American people will have easy access to legal and permanent evidence of U.S. laws. Currently the U.S. Statutes at Large are not available online in a searchable, non-proprietary format.

“Our Founding Fathers established the United States of America as a government under laws, and not of men.” said Rep. Brat. “This legislation is a common-sense reform we can make to increase transparency and allow our country’s legal history to be accessible in digital form.”

“Americans deserve a government that is both transparent and accessible,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.). “This bill will make it easier for Americans to access the laws that affect our daily lives, and I look forward to continued bipartisan work to make government more accountable with my colleague Congressman Brat.”

The U.S. Statutes at Large are compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration each session of Congress and include legal and permanent evidence of the laws enacted by Congress. This includes concurrent resolutions, reorganization plans, proposed and ratified amendments to the Constitution, and Proclamations by the President.

While the U.S. Code is easily accessible online, the Statutes at Large contain a more comprehensive history of the laws of our Republic. The U.S. Code does not contain repealed laws, original statutes that have been amended, private laws, or statutes with limited duration like appropriations acts or infrastructure projects. All of these components can be consulted as “evidence” of the law before the judicial branch but cannot be found in searchable text online. This legislation would direct the Government Printing Office to lead the digitization process and consult with public and private entities with expertise throughout the process.

View bill text here.
f t # e

Find My Offices

Select the office you wish to contact

U.S. House of Representatives