One task that is common amongst government affairs personnel across the country is tracking and monitoring state and federal legislation. Depending on the size and nature of the organization, a government affairs professional may monitor hundreds of bills that are moving through the state capitol. As a result, many organizations use legislative tracking systems to monitor and organize the vast amount of information that flows out from the state and federal legislature. However, tracking legislation is not the only task a government affairs person must accomplish; they often have shared the information with an audience and gather feedback. They have to review and analyze legislation and make recommendations. Depending on the organization, they have to communicate all this information with association members, clients, staff members, etc. If there is more to the job than just tracking the bills, shouldn’t your legislative tracking system do more too? Did you even know this was a possibility, or do you have legislative tracking tunnel vision?
Communicating Legislative Information is Key
Government affairs is a time sensitive endeavor. Bills move and change quickly, and as a result, you need to be able to quickly and easily get the information where it needs to go. Whether an amendment has been added to a bill or a piece of legislation has moved to a committee, getting current information to the people that need to see it can be a challenge. We’ve heard from many state agencies, for example, that print out bills and put them on the desks of department heads. The department heads read the bills and email the government affairs staff their opinions on how their department would be affected by the implementation of that piece of legislation. The government affairs staff gather the information and make recommendations based on this collaboration. While this seems like a simple idea, there are often problems that arise and a breakdown of communication can come from something as simple as paper getting buried on someone’s desk. A legislative tracking system that enables people to comment on legislation can enable an entire staff of people to discuss bill implementation in an online environment, eliminating the paper trail and speeding up the legislative review process. With a simple email from the system, everyone can be notified that there is legislation for them to comment on, and each comment is stored with the bill, keeping an online record of the discussion for government affairs staff to review. It seems simple, but automating the legislative communication process is an easy way to alleviate the government affairs staff workload and improve the legislative review process.
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If communicating legislative information is a large portion of your job then why doesn’t your tracking system help? Government affairs without communication tools are like trying to balance your budget with just a calculator. Sure it can be done; but if the tools are out there to make it easier why not use them?
Does your current legislative tracking solution meet your needs? If you can’t share easily share legislative information with your audience it may be time to find a legislative tracking system that can.