Finding Bills – A Variety of Methods

(Here’s info on Finding Bills in a handy .pdf file.)

Search Bill Titles and Descriptions

Go to the Legislature’s website (capitol.hawaii.gov) and click on the “Reports and Lists” icon in the center of the page. Click on the “Subject Search” bar in the blue column on the left. Enter the word or phrase you’d like to find.

  • Only searches in the Measure Title, Report Title (keywords), and Description of the bill rather than the full content of the bill.
  • Usually you can find what you’re looking for; especially helpful in looking for a bill you already know exists.
  • Organized presentation of results.

Search Full Content of Bills

Go to the Legislature’s website and on the left side of the page, you’ll find that the “Keyword Search” box is the second one down. Enter the word you’d like to find. Click on the “Status” link in the results to view the bill status page. (Note: Tips on “How to use the Searchboxes” appear above the search boxes.)

  • Searches the full content of bills (all versions), hearing notices, orders of the day, committee referrals, resolutions, concurrent resolutions, Judiciary communications, departmental communications, miscellaneous communications, and Governor’s messages.
  • Option to Sort By and Filter results.
  • Usually pulls up a large volume of “hits,” which may include multiple versions of the same bill.
  • Can be overwhelming and confusing, depending on the scope of your search.

Find ALL Bills Introduced

Go to the Legislature’s website and click on the “Reports and Lists” icon in the center of the page. On the right side of the screen, you will see links to House and Senate bills, and resolutions that have been introduced to date. Click on the link you want to explore and browse the report.

  • Browse the continually growing list of measures as they are introduced at the beginning of session. Be sure to keep track of where you left off as new bills are introduced!
  • Great way to build a thorough measure tracking list.
  • Organized presentation of results.

Find Surviving Bills After Major Deadlines

On the Legislature’s website, click on the “Reports and Lists” button in the center of the page. On the right side of the screen, scroll down to the most recent deadline, such as First Lateral or Second Crossover. You’ll see links to measures that have survived. Click on a link and scan the results.

  • See only bills that are still alive after major deadlines.
  • The list of surviving legislation will shrink at every deadline.
  • Supplements your measure tracking list; you may discover some bills that have changed considerably.
  • Organized presentation of results.

Tracking

A few things to keep in mind…

  • Your tracking list shows what’s already happened – to track what’s going to happen, you’ll want to know the process and focus on developing good lines of communication and relationships.
  • Take time out for a more global view – you want to not just track measures, but keep track of the idea or issue, no matter where it pops up during session.
  • Remember to keep an eye out for companions (same bill, different chamber) and similar bills.
  • Your tracking list and the status reports are never going to say “this bill is dead” (the closest you’ll get is the bill being “deferred” or “held” with no date indicated). The calendar published by PAR can help you understand the deadlines.

Creating Measure Tracking Lists

The online measure tracking feature allows you to create lists of bills and resolutions you’re interested in, easily view the current status of numerous measures, and create easy-to-read reports.

  1. Go to the Legislature’s website and click on “Sign In” (upper right corner of the page). Enter your email address and password*.
  2. Click on the orange “Measure Tracking” icon located in center screen.
  3. First, you’ll need to create a list. You can name it anything. Just enter the name in the column on the left and then click on “Create List.”
  4. Next, click on “Show List.” The list’s name will appear in the right column. Then, add as many measures to the list as you like – just enter a bill number in the space and click on “Add a Measure.” Repeat the process until you’ve added all the bills you’d like to appear on that list. You can also “Add Notes” for each item to personalize or highlight items on your list.
  5. Finally, click on “Generate Report.” Your list can be viewed as a handy report that shows each measure, its description and current status, and contains links to its status sheet and its current draft. (Note: The report is sort-able – just double-click the column headers. This is especially helpful to find out which items have seen recent activity, or to have the bills listed in numerical order.)
  6. Tip: When printing the report, use the landscape orientation for best results. Save it as a .pdf file if you want to attach it to an email. You may want to export it as an Excel file for further options.

Check your measure tracking lists as often as you like. It’s easy to add or delete items from your lists as session progresses.

*If this is your first time using the interactive features of the website, you’ll have to Register. Click on “Register” (upper right corner of the page) and enter your name, email address, and the password you’d like to use for the website. After you’ve agreed to the terms and conditions, you will be directed to access your email account and open the email sent to you by the website.Follow the instructions for confirming your account. You’ll only be asked to do this once. After that, just sign in and enter your password.