How to Do A Better Bill Analysis

FiscalNote
Posted By: FiscalNote

FiscalNote is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer based in Washington D.C. and creator of the Government Relationship Management Platform (GRM). The following blog post will be a part of a series of posts to help individuals in the government affairs space achieve legislative and regulatory success through the augmentation of their roles by way of the intersection of technology and politics.

With state legislative sessions fully underway, it is important to discuss one of the primary responsibilities of government affairs professionals traveling across the country this time of year: bill analysis. Analyzing legislation is a time-intensive, often difficult process due to the sheer volume and complexity of the issues being legislated on, as well as the length and density of text within each piece of legislation.

With well over 100,000 bills introduced every year across all 50 state legislatures, the depth of knowledge required and scope of issues to manage during state sessions is immense. In addition, the process of analyzing legislation is an incredibly difficult task due to the improbability of being able to demonstrate ROI throughout the lobbying process. Killing or passing a bill isn’t enough to justify the existence of a government affairs department let alone a government affairs strategy. Professionals involved in state affairs need to be able to analyze a bill as well as justify the actions taken.

In order to effectively run a state sessions campaign, there are three distinct value propositions that FiscalNote provides government affairs professionals when analyzing pieces of legislation.

Text Analysis:

Within each bill there are key pieces of information that every state government affairs professional is familiar with, which allows for a seamless following of the legislation from cradle to grave. Many providers offer government affairs professionals access to all pieces of legislation in a central repository; however, many of them lack the necessary filtering and indexing of information as well as the knowledge management needed to create a cohesive strategy.

In today’s fast moving, complex government affairs landscape, it’s not just enough to know what is inside a bill; it’s critical to have all relevant information available, specifically what other iterations of the same legislation have existed before in previous sessions and across different chambers.

FiscalNote allows the individual user to see not only similar legislation, but also the likelihood of passage as well as if a similar piece of legislation has found success or failure before. With FiscalNote’s proprietary analytics, the individual user is given an outlook into the likelihood that a piece of legislation will have legs or will die in committee. By providing this kind of insight, FiscalNote allows teams and individuals tasked with state sessions to align resources properly and double down when necessary. With budget constraints increasing at the same rate as expectations from the C-Suite, government affairs teams must do much more with much less. FiscalNote provides teams the insight to prioritize and analyze the most important legislation that relates only to the issues that matter most.

Network Effects

To remain competitive, it’s not enough to know the rudimentary information behind every bill i.e. the bill number, the bill text, etc. In order to effectively manage a modern government affairs strategy, specifically during state legislative sessions, professionals must be able to understand the network effects of the sponsors and cosponsors behind the legislation. With FiscalNote, government affairs professionals are able to see the data behind the decisions from the people making them. Who are the individuals that will form coalitions and work together on the issues? How can you create stakeholder engagement behind the representatives trying to enact these various pieces of legislation? What are the caucuses and committees that the legislator is a member of and how have they voted within these legislative bodies compared to their peers?

The answers to these questions are all key data points to help government affairs professionals build a full, multi-faceted strategy during state sessions. Without this information, individuals involved in state sessions can only really be aware of the basic insights that every professional has access to. With FiscalNote, professionals are given data-driven insights that go beyond the building blocks of standard bill analysis; individuals are able to see the vast stakeholder networks behind the representatives enacting the legislation. Stay on top of state policy issues that affect your organization researching committees and subcommittees that are important to you. Find information on every committee, who its members are, what upcoming hearings they have as well as past hearings. In order to effectively follow a bill, it is of the utmost importance to also focus on the people behind the bill.

In addition to managing your relationships with legislators, bills, and committees, you can create contacts inside the platform for people and organizations outside of FiscalNote and outside of legislative bodies that you interact with to push your policy initiatives forward. This means that your coalition members, contract lobbyists, and staffers can be added for record-keeping and relationship management.

Legislator Analytics:

Even if the rudiments of legislation are accessible on demand and on-time, every professional in the modern government affairs space should have access to the analytics behind the effectiveness of the legislators involved in state legislation. With hundreds of votes per session and meticulous record-keeping in both chambers, the data on state legislators is extensive, and FiscalNote can provide you the most useful learnings from that data. FiscalNote’s Legislative Effectiveness Score measures how successful a legislator is at sponsoring and steering legislation through each important stage of the legislative process, all the way through enactment.

In addition, FiscalNote provides analysis regarding how effective legislators are compared to their peers on the issues that matter to whatever organization is currently focusing on them. It’s extremely straightforward to determine the actual individuals associated with each piece of legislation; however, it’s an entirely unique and complicated process to determine the ROI on actions taken to lobby legislators and whether or not it makes sense to form alliances with them. What is the value of working with a specific legislator if they are not effective at passing the legislation required? With FiscalNote, individuals are able to determine who is most effective and also who to avoid when forming a state sessions strategy.

Conclusion:

A better bill analysis is one with data-driven insights and a focus almost entirely on the ROI of every action taken during the entire legislative process. Organizations and teams must dedicate time and resources into analyzing bills not just from the narrow purview of the basic information related to the alerting of new legislation, but rather measuring the impact of the bills. FiscalNote provides users the ability to examine the cradle to grave life cycle of each piece of legislation as well as quantify the results for team members to easily digest and see the notes, actions, and discussions being taken by members of a team. Any individual can follow a piece of legislation, but a true innovator in the government affairs space will be able to see where this piece of legislation fits in with similar bills and how effective the legislator is at enacting it.

By understanding the aforementioned value propositions, government affairs professionals are able to create an effective strategy that focuses on reinventing influence by aligning resources more efficiently and managing issues effectively. A standard bill analysis is just the beginning when it comes to developing a fully formed strategy.

If you would like to see how FiscalNote can provide a better bill analysis, contact us here.