During the legislative session bills can change status frequently as they move in and out of committees, amendments are added, and language changes Each one of these actions can alter the nature of a bill significantly. When you are tracking a few hundred bills at a time, keeping up with these changes can be a difficult task. Many legislative tracking systems offer some sort of email notification of the bill’s changes, but does your tracking system offer smart notifications?
There are a few ways that email notifications can work in a legislative tracking system. Some systems send one legislative update report each day that details out the changes that occurred. Sometimes the reports come at the end of the day, sometimes they aren’t available until the following day. While these reports do a good job of delivering all the important information on the bills, they are not delivered in a timely fashion. If a change is made in the middle of the day then you may not even know about it until the following morning.
Another way that legislative tracking systems can notify users of bill changes is with an email notification for every change that occurs to a bill you are tracking. While on the surface this seems like the best way to get the most up to date information, those users that track hundreds of bills every session know that a single bill can change status many time, and as a result, you can get bombarded with email notifications on one bill. After a while, these notifications become useless because you have too many of them to make sense.
The smart way to get legislative notifications is to get a comprehensive update report a few times per day. The Capitol Impact legislative tracking system delivers an update report every four hours that lists all the bills that you are tracking that have had a change in status. We filter out some of the less informative status changes (“The bill was printed” for example) so that you only get the significant information for the bills that you are tracking.
At Capitol Impact, we try to think of how you have to track legislation and fit our processes to meet your needs as a lobbyist. Knowing when bills change should be done in a timely manner, and without the confusion or repeated notifications on the same item. If you want to know more about State legislative tracking software that is designed the way lobbyists work, click here.