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The Insider Legislative Tracking Service combines cutting-edge database technology with an easy-to-use, web-based interface to provide a comprehensive solution to the tracking needs of government affairs professionals. It allows you to produce tracking reports in Microsoft Word format, see daily and weekly legislative calendars that show exactly when and where your bills are scheduled, receive emails whenever your bills are added to calendars, click directly to the exact sub-sections of the General Statutes cited in proposed legislation, receive email notifications when committee substitutes of your bills come out, and much more.
Insider Tracking Service Key Features and Highlights
Insider Tracking Service Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does the Tracking Service cost?
- Does the Tracking Service include the Insider newsletter?
- How does the free trial for Insider customers work?
- How does the free trial for people who are not Insider customers work?
- How do I build a series of Tracking Reports?
- How to I compile a single list of all the bills I'm tracking, regardless of their Tracking List?
- How do I print a Calendar showing where by bills are scheduled to come up?
- Where is the Report that shows all the actions from the previous day?
- How can I get caught up after I've been out of town?
- What is a new bill?
- If a bill appears in my Daily Alert email because it matches a parameter I have set, does it automatically become a Tracked Bill?
- What is the difference between Bill Comments and Tracking Notes?
- Why shouldn't I just have one large Tracking List like I used to, called something like "My Bills"?
- What is the different between Tracked and Untracked Bills?
- Should I use the Position, Category, and Priority fields?
- Can I create my own Positions, Categories and Priority fields?
- What's the difference between the various emails?
- What is the difference between a Tracking Report and a Progress Report?
- Can I get my Tracking List names to appear on my Progress Reports.
- What is the Related Bill Finder?
- What does the Integrity Check do?
- Is there a way to compile lists of bills assigned to a particular lobbyist, regardless of client?
- Who do I contact if I have more questions?
How much does the Tracking Service cost?The service costs $2,399 a year. There is no penalty for making monthly payments of $199, or quarterly payments of $599, or whatever you prefer. That amount includes the $899 Insider customers already pay, so Insider customers would see an annual increase of $1,500 a year. There are discounts for additional users.
How does the free trial for Insider customers work?Insider customers are eligible for a free two-week trial of the service. Let us know that you are interested, and we'll set up a fully functional account in your name. We'll also help you put "bills of interest" into the system so you can see it in action. If you do not provide us with bills, we'll create a Tracking List with some sample bills for you. The free trial costs you nothing and you are under no future obligation.
How does the free trial for people who are not Insider customers work?Simply send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting approval for a free trial. Be sure to include your name, your telephone number, and the name of your company, agency or association. If approved, we'll set up a fully functional account in your name. We'll also help you put "bills of interest" into the system so you can see it in action. If you do not provide us with bills, we'll create a Tracking List with some sample bills for you. The free trial costs you nothing and you are under no future obligation.
How do I build a series of Tracking Reports?After clicking the Tracking Reports link on the left side of the page, select the tracking lists you want to use while by clicking them holding down the "CTRL" key. Select information fields you wish to include in your reports, and set your format (HTML, Word document, RTF) and display options, then build all the reports with a single click of the "Create Report" button. To build a single report with all your tracked bills, see the next question.
How to I compile a single list of all the bills I'm tracking, regardless of their Tracking List?Use the "Search for Bills" link on the left side of the page and click the "Select Lists" link on the "Tracking List" line of the search screen. Put checks in the boxes of all the lists you wish to include in your report and click "Select." Execute your search and all the bills within the selected lists will be found.
How do I print a Calendar showing where by bills are scheduled to come up?Use Search for Bills to isolate the tracked bills you are interested in, then build a report after limiting your results to "Scheduled Bills."
Where is the Report that shows all the actions from the previous day?It is called the Session Day Review and is indexed in the News & Events section of the web site. You can also set your Emails Alerts options to have it emailed to you every day.
How can I get caught up after I've been out of town?Use the Search for Bills screen and select the Action Date option. Put a check beside the days you missed and run a search. The results will show every bill that had action while you were gone. You can also use the Tracking List option on the search page to limit your results to just the bills you are tracking.
Also, the Session Day Reviews capture everything and are archived. If you use those, however, you can't immediately add bills of interest to your tracks, so it's worthwhile to become comfortable working in the database.
What is a new bill?Within the context of The Daily Alert, new bills are both:
bills that have just been filed, and
new versions of older bills.
For instance, a Daily Alert filter set to look for bills that contain the word "hospital" would search all new bills as well as committee substitutes for untracked bills.
If a bill appears in my Daily Alert email because it matches a parameter I have set, does it automatically become a Tracked Bill?Absolutely not. The Daily Alert is searching new bills for anything that matches the interest parameters you have set. It will pop up in your Daily Alert when it is new, but be gone the next day unless you take action. Sound users find it useful to create a Tracking List where they can park bills they intend to look at more closely when time allows. If your Daily Alert filters snag three new bills that may or may not prove to be worth tracking, you can park them in a Tracking List called something like "potential bills" and take a closer look on Friday when things slow down.
What is the difference between Bill Comments and Tracking Notes?Both are specific to a particular bill. Bills Comments are associated with bills regardless of context, so the comment for a bill can be displayed in any report. T racking Notes are particular to the bill within the context of the Tracking List in which the note was created. So the same bill, tracked for different clients, can have different notes in the reports built specifically for each client. Administrative reports created to show all the bills you are tracking can display both the bill comments and all tracking notes.
Why shouldn't I just have one large Tracking List like I used to, called something like "My Bills"?Because throughout the system (on reports, bill pages, legislative calendars, etc.) your tracking names are going to appear, so it is good to use that field for a piece of information that tells you something. Having "Agency Bills" appear is also better than "My Bills" when reports get circulated.
What is the different between Tracked and Untracked Bills?By adding a bill to a tracking list, you are letting the system know that you are interested in that bill's progress. Once a bill is given tracked status you can set the system to let you know anytime the bill is scheduled for the floor or for committee, anytime a vote is taken or the bill has any other action, any time the text is replaced with an updated version due to committee substitution or floor amendment. Throughout the day you can check the Daily Alert is see the latest information about you bills, and the same material can be collected and emailed to you every night. You can build easily customized tracking reports by topic or client by using multiple tracking lists. Tracked bills appear with a red-boxed checkmark icon throughout the site.
Should I use the Position, Category, and Priority fields?It depends on the complexity of your lists. Some people only track bills they consider to be high priority and work for an agency or association with a very narrow area of interest. They may set the system to send an immediate email any time there is action of any sort on one of their bills. Other firms may have three dozen clients, three or four lobbyists, several specialty areas and thousands of bills that are being monitored and reported on due to their potential impact. An association may occasionally wish to print reports for members to take with them to the legislature. The reports can state whether the association is supporting or opposing a list of committee bills and use the Bill Comments field to list to provide talking points.
Consider the grid below. It lists only four bills, but could just as easily list 40. Or 400.
By using all the fields, the system can easily generate the following reports (and many, many more*):
- All bills I am tracking
- Bills I am tracking, by client
- High priority bills
- Low priority bills
- Bills I support
- Bills I oppose
- Bills relating to my category: hospitals
- Bills relating to my category: insurance
- Hospital bills I oppose
- High priority hospital bills I support
- High priority hospital bills I support, by client
Firms and agencies with multiple lobbyists sometime like to use the category field to define to whom the bill is assigned. Doing so allows reports to be built showing only the bills assigned to a particular person. Thus, a report should only scheduled bills with the category "Chet" would, in essence, serve as Chet's calendar for the day.
Can I create my own Positions, Categories and Priority fields?Yes, very easily. Just click the "Add Position" (or Category, Priority) link in the "Options" link on the appropriate page.
What's the difference between the various emails?
- Daily Alert - A complete recap of the previous day's activity. This report lists all information on tracked bills and catches all the new or updated bills that match the criteria set in your search features (Subject, Keyword, Citations).
- Session Day Review - A formatted, printable report containing all actions and introductions from the most recent legislative session day. This is a report some people like to print out. Allows you to peruse all actions from the day before without any partiality being shown to tracked bills.
- Session Alerts - Real-time notification of floor announcements. Lets you know when the House and Senate go in and out of session, and when immediate committee meetings are announced on the fly. This email is useful to people working at the legislature who don't want to spend time waiting for meetings that always start late to get underway. Most people have this one sent to a cell phone or PDA
- Bill Alerts - Sent throughout the day as meeting notices are posted online that reference bills in your tracking lists. You know when a bill is scheduled for a meeting as soon as the meeting is posted and can plan accordingly
- Action Alerts - Sent throughout the day as new actions are updated for bills in your tracking lists