Academic researchers, non-fiction writers, legal professionals, copy writers, students and other technical writers sometimes need to reference bills in their publications. There is a specific way in which you are to cite a bill in a document intended for publication.The four citation documentation styles used most commonly in academic and professional journals are the Chicago Manual of Style, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the American Medical Association (AMA). These guidelines and examples, if used correctly, will lend credibility to your publication when citing a bill.

Step 1

Gain access to the Harvard Law Review Association's "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation," either online or through a university or local law school library. The Chicago Manual of Style, American Psychological Association, Modern Language Association and American Medical Association all defer to the "The Bluebook," as the universal standard for citing Senate or House bills that have yet to be passed, within text and in a bibliography.

Step 2

Write the official or most commonly recognized name of the bill in the Works Cited or References page. Be sure to use the Congress and session numbers to reference a specific bill. If you want to point out an exact line or section, put the section or line number before the year.


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act, S. 941, 111th Cong. § 10 (2011).

Step 3

Cite the bill in-text by using an open parenthesis, then the abbreviation for session, the session number, a comma, the year and a closing parenthesis.


(S. 941, 2011)

Bills that have been enacted need to be cited using the U. S. Statutes at Large format.

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