Find and Track Bills at the Legislature
(Click here for a handy .pdf file on finding bills.)
Quickly Find Bills: Subject Search
Go to the Legislature’s website (capitol.hawaii.gov) and click on the “Reports and Lists” link (or select it from under the “Laws & Research” tab). Then, click on the “Subject Search” bar — the last one in the light blue column on the left. In the search box that appears, enter the exact word or phrase you’d like to find.
- Only searches in the current bill draft’s Measure Title, Report Title (keywords), and Description. Does not search the full content of the bill or past versions.
- Organized presentation of results — a report with descriptions, status, and links to status pages and bills.
Search Full Content of Bills: Keyword Search
Go to the Legislature’s website (capitol.hawaii.gov) and on the top left, you’ll find the search box. Where it says, “Select Search Type,” select “Keyword.” Enter the word you’d like to find. (You can search for a phrase by putting it in quotation marks.) Click on the “Status” link in the results to view a bill’s status page or click on the document name to view the document itself.
- Searches the full content of bills (all versions) and associated documents.
- Usually pulls up a large volume of “hits,” which may include multiple versions of the same bill.
- Can be overwhelmed with results, depending on the scope of your search.
- Use “Menu-Assisted” or “Advanced” features to refine your search.
Find All Bills Introduced
Go to the Legislature’s website (capitol.hawaii.gov) and click on the “Reports and Lists” link (or select it from under the “Laws & Research” tab). On the right side of the screen, under “Deadline Tracking” the first section is “Measure Introduction.” You’ll see links to House and Senate bills introduced, and resolutions that have been offered. Click on the link you want to explore and browse the report.
- Browse the growing list of measures as they are introduced at the beginning of session (bill introduction ends 1/25/2023).
- Great way to build a thorough tracking list.
- Can refine search using your web browser’s search feature (often <Ctrl><F>).
- Organized presentation of results
Find Surviving Bills After Major Deadlines
Go to the Legislature’s website (capitol.hawaii.gov) and click on the “Reports and Lists” link (or select it from under the “Laws & Research” tab). On the right side of the screen, under “Deadline Tracking,” scroll down to the most recent deadline, such as “First Lateral” or “First Crossover.” You’ll see links to reports listing measures that have survived the deadline.
- Bills that are still alive after major deadlines. The list of surviving legislation will shrink at every deadline.
- You may discover some bills that have changed since initially introduced and are now of interest.
- Organized presentation of results.
Creating Measure Tracking Lists
(Click here for a handy .pdf file on setting up a measure tracking list.)
The “Measure Tracking” feature offered on the Legislature’s website allows you to create lists of measures you’re interested in and easily view the status of numerous measures at one time. It’s also a great tool for sharing information. (Note: The term “measures” includes bills, resolutions, Governor’s Messages, and Judicial Communications.)
- Go to the Legislature’s website and click on “Log In” (upper right corner), and enter your email address and password*.
- Click on “Measure Tracking” or select it using the drop-down menu under the “Participate” tab.
- First, you’ll need to create a list. You can name it anything — just enter the name in the box on the left and then click on “Create List.”
- The name you chose will appear below the box. (You can create more than one list, but for most people one list works just fine.) Now, next to your list name, click on “Show List.” Your list name now appears in the right column. Your list is empty, so you’ll want to add measures to it.
- In the box in the right column, enter a measure number in the space provided and click on “Add a Measure.” Repeat the process until you’ve added whatever you’d like to follow. You may add as many measures as you like. Don’t include periods, spaces, or draft numbers. If you’d like to add a batch of measures, just type them in one after another and separate the measure numbers by a comma. (Option: You can “Add Notes” for any measures on your list to personalize or annotate your report — the notes will appear as a column of the report.
- To create your report, click on “Generate Report.” The report provides a wealth of information. It shows you the measure’s description and latest status and date it occurred. The .pdf symbol on the left opens the latest version of the measure, and the measure number itself links to the measure’s status page. You can sort the report by the column headers — just click a column header to change the order the measures appear. This function is especially helpful to find which items have seen activity since you last viewed the report (double-click on the “Current Status” header to bring most recent activity to the top) or to list the measures in numerical order (click on the “Measure” column header). (Tip: If you’d like to print the report or save it as a .pdf, use the landscape orientation for best results. Reports can also be exported in Excel or database formats.)
- Check your measure tracking list often to stay on top of things. Just “Log In,” select “Measure Tracking” under the “Participate” tab, then “Show List” and “Generate Report.” As session progresses, you can easily add or delete measures from your list.
- When searching for measures to put on your list, keep an eye out for “companions” (same measure content introduced or offered in a different chamber) and measures that are similar.
- The measure status is never going to say, “this bill is dead” (the closest you’ll get is the measure being “deferred” or “held” with no future date provided). The Public Access Room (PAR) website has, under its “Current Legislature” tab, the legislative calendar and a “Which Deadlines Apply to My Bill?” chart. These can help you understand the deadlines. And remember, PAR is here and happy to help!
- To set-up email alerts so that you’ll know when a measure you’re tracking is scheduled for a hearing, select “Hearing Notification” under the “Participate” tab.
*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.