What Should You Expect From a Legislative Tracking System?

June 19, 2013 by Crescerance

Question Sign by Colin_KMany organizations around the country track state and federal legislation during their respective legislative session. If your organization utilizes legislative tracking software to keep up to speed on the latest legislation you probably know the basics. Legislative tracking software can help track bills and organize them into lists. Depending on the software, the legislation is updated on a regular basis and it keeps all the information in one place so you can spend less time searching for bills and more time working on your organization’s issues.

Most legislative tracking software can deliver the latest information on the bills that are moving through the state capitol and can enable you to better organize the legislation. If any legislative tracking system can deliver accurate legislative information, does it matter which system you use? While the information in all the software out there is the same, it’s the extra features that can really determine who useful a legislative tracking system will be to you.

Communication Tools

Tracking legislation is probably only a portion of your everyday job. Once you have the legislative information at your fingertips you need to be able to share the information with your audience. For a professional lobbyist, your audience may be your clients; those that track legislation on behalf of an association may need to share this information with the association members; university advocacy managers may need to share legislative information with their government relations staff or their alumni advocates. A legislative tracking system with built in communication tools can assist you in this task by enabling you to send out information to your audience and allowing them to submit their feedback, facilitating two way communication. Does your legislative tracking system enable you to share legislative information with your audience?

Weekly Reports

During the legislative session many lobbyists and government relations professionals are required to publish a weekly legislative report to share the latest information on the issues that concern their audience. These reports can be incredibly time consuming, taking up valuable time each week to complete and send out. Once again, a legislative tracking system that caters to the job of a lobbyist can help you create your reports. Look for a legislative tracking system that can automatically create dynamic reports by pulling information from your tracking system into a customizable report layout. Once the bills are imported, all you need to do is write the introduction and conclusion. If your legislative tracking system has a built in blast email capability then you can write the report and send it out all in a matter of minutes. Does your legislative tracking system help you create your weekly reports?

Get Everyone Involved

Many legislative tracking systems charge a “per seat” subscription fee, meaning that the system is only usable for one person in the organization unless you buy more seats. While this may not seem like a big deal, especially for organizations that only have one person tracking legislation, its often the case that more than one person is involved in reviewing the legislation. With legislative tracking software that enables unlimited users to access the system you can get your entire audience involved in the process. Instead of just being a tool to gather legislative information, it can be a portal for you to share the bills and publish your analysis to your audience. Be sure that the system also enables you to set up security access levels so that you can manage which portions of the system people have access to. Does your legislative tracing system get everyone involved?

Knowing what to expect from your tracking system can help you make an informed decision when it comes time to make an investment. If you have been using a system that doesn’t have the features you need to do your job it may be time to start looking for a solution that can.