researcher in the insurance industry asked about finding sources
that alert readers to pending or final state legislation. The writer
wanted to customize
the alerts to follow specific topics such as housing or mortgages,
and was aware of a
service called NetScan (a Thomson product). Readers Eric M. Kaufman,
Head of Research Services at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, Sandra S.
Stocks, Rural Representative, Northern Nevada at Thomson West and
Joshua Jones, Reference Librarian at Cooley Godward LLP responded.
Eric Kaufman: I
believe the legislative tracking service,
best. It is based in Sacramento, CA and its customer service cannot
be beat. StateNet offers customization, which lets you focus on any
area of legislation. A subscriber may create specific searches, or
ask a representative to do the work, and then sit back and receive
daily e-mail reports.
Additionally, tracking new or pending legislation can also be
"WestClip" service or Lexis' "Eclipse" service. With Westlaw, use
the St-Bills database.
This database contains status, summary and full text legislation in
one fell swoop.
Moreover, you may set up a WestClip that retrieves zero results. In
other words, if you
want to track or watch something that is developing, rather than
available, you can do it with WestClip.
you would have to utilize two separate databases to accomplish the
same thing. STTRCK for bill tracking doesn't contain the full text
of bills, so you would also have to use STTEXT. Because you would
have to work with two separate databases, you would have to set up
two different eclipses. Additionally, Lexis doesn't let you set up
without retrieving results first.
Personally, I wouldn't use Lexis for this research. I believe full
text is important. A
bill's summary wouldn't necessarily contain the specific language
you need (housing,
mortgages), and you could miss important information without it.
Sandra Stocks: Researchers may be alerted to pending or final
state legislation using
Westlaw and a feature called StatutesPlus. In addition, you may
analyze and interpret the
pending legislation by reviewing the Text Amendments, Legislative
Record (federal legislation) and Notes of Decision. You can go even
further and post a KeyCite Alert, which will e-mail you every time a
change has been made
to a particular statute (final legislation).
Joshua Jones: The
Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C. has a list of sources
state legislative research, which includes legislative tracking
services. Most of these are for individual states, but several track
legislative activity in all 50 states. See, for example:
-- Illumen (http://www.illumen.org/features.html#state-tracking)
-- MultiState Associates (http://www.multistate.com)
-- StateNet (http://www.statenet.com)
-- StateScape (http://www.statescape.com)
-- Stateside Associates (http://www.stateside.com/intelligence/state.shtml)
You can also use the State Bill Tracking service on LexisNexis or
NETSCAN LegAlert Library on Westlaw for this.