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

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 2005, the 109th 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 Stats 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:

Enter the term 106-168 in the search box, click Phrase, and select Public Law Number from the drop down menu. You can leave the titles and section types marked as is. 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 Advanced 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:

Enter Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement in the first search box, click Phrase, and select Text from the drop down menu. Enter the term Public Law into the second search box, click Phrase and select Text from the drop down menu.

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:


Enter S. 335 in the first search box, click Phrase, and select Text from the drop down menu. You can leave the titles and section types marked as is. Click Search. This query returns a larger number of results from which you can browse through to find what you're looking for.

This example will return 7 results, within which we can find our match to 113 Stat. 1806. 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: "Dec. 12, 1999". In the above example, add "Dec. 12, 1999" to the 2nd search box, click Phrase, 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:

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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