Citizen Legislators – How To Regain The Magic Of Doing Something

01.13.17

I’ve spent a lot of time with legislators over the years, way more than you’d expect for someone who’s not a lobbyist or a glutton for punishment. At the start, it was because I was a reporter, so it was part of the job description. If you aren’t a good enough writer to cover the …
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The Craft Beer Craze, Even Politicians are Catching On.

01.10.17

Hipsters, connoisseurs  and millennials alike have one thing in common, a fascination with craft beer. This could be attributed to the American trend of wanting to consume unique, special products, or due to the fact craft beer is delicious. As many Americans’ desire for this libation increases, politicians have moved towards enacting legislation to regulate, celebrate and create …
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Airbnb – your vacation rental in Barcelona may be in trouble!

01.03.17

Airbnb is a 21st century company which completely disrupted the way many of us live and vacation. The platform, which allows users to “find adventures nearby or in faraway places and access unique homes, experiences, and places around the world”, is quickly replacing traditional housing options for travel like hotels and changing the travel experience. …
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2016 Wrap-up, Political Eye Candy Style

12.20.16

It’s the time of year that I like to look back at the year that just finished. The special session in North Carolina that saw 30 bills introduced in the waning days of 2016 could be considered the cherry on top what can safely be called a very surprising year in American politics. We here at BillTrack50 were busier than ever, …
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A Slice of Life, December 2016

12.16.16

As many of you are well aware, BillTrack 50 has many cool trinkets and tools, my favorite has to be our trending bill widget on the home page. This widget shows the ten most searched bills at the moment. In leu of what 2016 was, the bills trending here at the end paint an interesting …
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Hunting for some new legislation?

12.07.16

For being an activity that only 6% of Americans partake in, hunting is one of America’s most important regulatory segments. Pulling in 38.3 billion dollars in revenue, hunting and fishing drive a large part of the American economy and way of life. With news stories like Cecil the lion breaking last year, public attention has …
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Voting Rights 2016: A Smidgen of Hope

11.29.16

With the recent election, many issues with voting and voting rights have come to the forefront of our democracy once again. What issues are being discussed? The Voting Rights Act, State Voter ID Laws, Photo Identification and Felony Disenfranchisement, among others. In this election, people have been most concerned, and polarized, by two issues which are opposite …
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Sharing Important Bills: Examples for Inspiration

11.25.16

We created our bill list widget, map widget, stakeholder page, scorecard, and API hoping they would prove a useful way for people to share important legislation with their members or with the public. We have been delighted with the creative, effective, and even beautiful uses our customers have devised for using our tools. Some examples …
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BillTrack50 Webinar Schedule for Nov 2016 – Jan 2017

11.22.16

We have a pretty aggressive webinar schedule for the end of the year. Please sign up if any of these would be helpful to you: New User Orientation https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/6152391359334097924 (10:00 am EST Dec 14 or 3:00 pm EST Dec 21 or 10:00 am EST Jan 19) Existing Users: Getting Your Account Ready for 2017 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/3302973990581619970 …
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The NPVIC  – Where the Electoral College and Legislation Meet

11.20.16

In light of the recent election, the debate over whether or not the electoral college is still appropriate for the United States Presidential elections has been reignited once more. This post is an update of a previous post we did in 2014 covering one ongoing reform effort: “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC)”. States that pass …
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Getting Ready for 2017 — Checklist

11.18.16

It’s that time of year again. Time for sessions to get rolling. Time to start thinking about bills again. We have a few tips for getting your BillTrack50 account cleaned up and ready for the new year. There are also several new features we added over the summer that you should check out. If you …
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Unmanned Drones — Exciting or Terrifying?

10.21.16

We’ve heard about unmanned drones both raining death down on America’s enemies in foreign lands, or delivering our Amazon orders in 30 minutes or less. We’ve heard about drones helping (or hindering) with fighting wildfires. And of course, we are all reasonably concerned about drones invading our privacy. I think we can safely say, like with most …
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Our Word is Good.

10.06.16

Well, the election season as officially started. If you watched the debate, it went pretty much as excepted. One person was calm, collected and prepared and the other was…not. Let’s dive into the topics that were covered on the debate. Full disclosure, I am a liberal, and my bias will come through in this article. …
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Daily Fantasy Sports – Skill or Luck?

09.27.16

ESPN fantasy app going down made me sell my house and live on the streets — JJ (@HopkinsHive10) September 11, 2016 I’m glad the ESPN Fantasy app crashed so I can go back to enjoying football the old fashion way… by gambling on the point spread. — Rod (@rodimusprime) September 11, 2016 You may or …
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Getting Started with BillTrack50

09.24.16

BillTrack50.com is a website for researching and sharing state and federal legislation. You can search for relevant bills, share them in various ways, and set up alerts to find out when new bills of interest are introduced. Searching and reading bills is free; saving searches and setting up alerts requires a subscription. Setting up your …
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Fresh Water, From a Lawmaker’s Perspective

09.19.16

Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. —The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Colridge Water is an increasingly scarce resource, and is an issue all states will need to grapple with. There are a multitude of bills focused on energy and water efficiency and conservation, such as US S2012, the Energy Policy …
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Marijuana, coming to an election near you.

09.07.16

Marijuana. Where have we gone in the last four years since Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes? Why do people believe in the legalization of marijuana? How has this legalization benefited or hurt society? What actions have other states and the federal government taken pertaining to this issue? Let’s find out! Basics of Marijuana …
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RNC vs. DNC – The Big Showdown

08.24.16

The last two weeks of July in 2016 were full of grand entrances ahead of schedule, appearances from many Trump children, semi-plagiarized speeches, more celebrities than we can count, pocket-sized US Constitutions, all the feels for Michelle’s speech and a tribute to the suffragettes. Between the eight jam-packed days of coverage, what were the most talked about …
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Structuring a Bill for Maximum Engagement

08.23.16

I encountered Michigan’s HB 5366  when I was researching a post on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). This bill is a moratorium on new fracking permits for high volume fracking until several issues are resolved around water, the public’s right to know, setbacks, and related issues. The individual issues that need to be solved are broken out …
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How Collaborative Is Your State?

08.19.16

For a state to create a new law, a bill proposing the idea must be introduced by a legislator. The idea may or may not have originated with that particular legislator, but the legislator will need to officially “sponsor” it. A bill can have just one sponsor, or multiple sponsors. Intuitively you would expect more sponsors would …
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