Bills that are passed by Congress and signed by the President can be found through several different methods, each with its own numbering system you can use to identify a specific law.
When a bill is introduced by a sponsor, the clerk of the House or Senate assigns a bill number (sometimes called a “legislative number”). The first number indicates the Congress in which the bill was introduced and the second number is the chronological number of the bill in that session. House bills use H.R.; Senate bills use S. For instance, the number 104 H.R. 3103 means that this was the 3103rd bill introduced in the House in the 104th Congress.
Once a bill has been signed by the President, it becomes law. This new law is first assigned a “Public Law Number.” The public law number simply indicates the order in which that law was passed within a given session. For instance, HIPAA (104 H.R. 3103), cited above, became the 191st law passed during the 104th Congress, so its public law number is P.L. 104-191.
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