Update: For an evergreen version of this post and a guide on how to use our new feature see https://openstates.org/about/subscriptions/
We’re excited to announce that our most-requested feature, bill tracking and alerts, has come to the new OpenStates.org!
Here’s what’s new:
Login & Profile Pages
Our new sign up page is live, and lets you sign up for an account with common social media accounts or an email and password.
Once you verify your email address you’ll be looking at the new profile page.
This page lets you manage details about your account, such as what type of emails you get and if you prefer to get them weekly or daily.
Of course, it isn’t that interesting if you haven’t subscribed to anything! Right now there are two types of subscriptions available: saved searches and bill updates.
Subscribing to Searches
Subscribing to a search notifies you any time the search results for a given query change. You can subscribe to things by going to the bill search page for your state (e.g. https://openstates.org/nc/bills/) and typing in a query.
Here you’ll see us searching for all New Hampshire bills mentioning “news media”. At the bottom of the search filters, you’ll see a new ‘Add Subscription’ button (highlighted here in yellow):
If you click this, you’ll be subscribed to updates for this query. You will receive an email any time those search results change (daily or weekly, according to your search preference).
Subscribing to Bill Updates
Often once you find the bills you’re looking for, you’ll want to be notified any time the legislature moves on them.
When logged in, you’ll see a ‘Track this Bill’ button on every bill page (e.g. https://openstates.org/nc/bills/2019/SB315/). Clicking this button will add it to your tracked legislation. You’ll receive an update any time these bills are updated.
Please note, this can be somewhat noisy as some states have a lot of actions on bills. Depending on your needs it may make sense to opt for weekly digests instead of getting daily updates.
We’re releasing this today in beta; please bear with us as we make necessary changes to the service and work out potential issues. If you’re having trouble please either post an issue or get in touch.
We’re able to do this work thanks to the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute generously agreeing to sponsor the development of these features. RJI opened its doors in 2008 and has been supporting projects and initiatives that seek to ensure journalism continues to be an important and vibrant part of Democracy. “This project will make this government transparency and accountability tool that’s helpful to journalists and citizens even stronger and easier to use,” said RJI’s Executive Director Randy Picht. “We’re big fans of the Open States team.”
Of course, we’re not done yet. We’re looking to enable multi-state search subscriptions as soon as we’re sure the system can handle it, and we’ll also be adding a way to follow specific legislators so you can see what your representatives are up to.