*Click on the hyperlinked terms for a detailed explanation
You can find the U.S. Code, Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, and more at FDsys, GovInfo, HeinOnline's Government, Politics, and Law database, and the Law Library of Congress (for older digitized volumes). Bills can be tracked at Congress.gov or GovTrack. See links below.
*Court decisions that are published can be found in case reporters, but not all decisions are published. Appellate court decisions that may be used to set a precedent are published in case reporters specific to the level of court. Cases may then be referred to and cited in federal cases. Trial court decisions are published less frequently.
1. Read the news or search for legislation by policy area.
2. Learn more about the legislation.
3. Think about how the legislation may impact public health.
4. Use library databases, government statistics, environmental reports, etc. to gauge the impact on public health.
5. Think about whether or not this legislation will have an overall positive or negative impact on public health using the information that you've gathered.
1. I used the Newsbank database to look at the Topeka Capital-Journal for Friday, February 2. I looked at the "State Government" section and found an article about the introduction of a bill that would allow a county-wide vote on large poultry plant operations in Kansas.
2. Initially, I searched the Kansas Legislature website for recent activity as the bill was just introduced, and tried searching for keywords such as "poultry" and "facility" but found nothing. I even searched for the legislators Holland and Karleskint mentioned in the article to see if I could find it with their sponsored legislation, and came up empty. After all of this, I finally tried LegiScan and found it in 2 minutes using the word "poultry" and sorting legislation from newest to oldest. It is listed as Kansas Senate Bill (S.B.) 365.
3. In order to know whether or not this bill might impact public health, I first need to know how these large poultry facilities (such as Tyson) impact public health. Tyson buys meat from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (factory farms), so I would probably research those. I would also look at how many people they are looking to employ for their facilities. What kind of infrastructure is needing to support that many workers and their families? Hospitals, schools, restaurants and grocery stores, places to live, etc. What will that kind of population density mean for the small town in terms of risk assessment?
Congressional Documents in the Government Documents Collection at Ablah Library.