Montana Legislative Branch - 2001 Session Information Resources
MONTANA LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC
2001 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The Montana Legislative Branch maintains an information system named LAWS (Legislative Automated Workflow System) which includes an Internet web browser application for accessing information related to the 2001 legislative session. Internet users can access the 2001 session LAWS application by connecting to the following URL: http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/LAW0200W$.Startup?P_SESS=20011.
Last session's LAWS users are likely to notice several new features in the 2001 LAWS application, including the availability of bill text in PDF format, improved functionality within the preference list feature, and the option to receive pertinent legislative information via e-mail by subscribing to the Legislative Branch's free messaging service. All of these new features are described in more detail below.
The LAWS system is much more than just an Internet web browser application. LAWS encompasses an Oracle database system (for recording bill status information) integrated with a WordPerfect 8 macro-driven system (used for bill drafting and amendment processing.) Finally, there is an Internet umbrella in the form of an online web browser application that provides users with access to both bill status and bill text.
Internet users are able to access online bill status information, committee hearing information, agendas, etc., as well as the text of introduced bills, amended bills, enrolled bills, and edited bill drafts.
Advanced search features to help identify bills and bill drafts of interest are also available for Internet users. For example, users will be able to generate lists of bills and bill drafts, based on specific criteria selected by the user.This criteria can include one or more of the following: requester of a bill draft, primary sponsor of a bill, drafter of a bill, subject assigned to a bill, current status of a bill, and other criteria.
One of the more popular features of the Internet application is the “preference list” feature. This feature is useful for Internet users who wish to track specific legislation. The user can create a list of bills, which is saved in a password-protected file, allowing the user to access and modify the list at any time. Once the user has created a bill list, the user can click on a "Display Status" button to generate an online report listing the latest status of each bill in the list, along with the bill's short title and primary sponsor or requester.
New this session is the capability for a preference list user to create an account online instantly, by supplying a user-id and password of their choice. Previously, the user had to mail in an application to the Legislative Service Division, a process that took several days.
Now, not only can the user create a preference list account online, but the user can build their list of bills with the help of search engines that display bills by subject, primary sponsor, requester, and requesting agency.All bills related to a specific subject, for example, can now be added to a user’s preference list with a single keystroke. You can find the link to establish you own preference list at URL: http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/LAW0200W$.Startup?P_SESS=20011. Simply click on the link "How to Establish a Preference List" and follow the directions.
Another system enhancement is the provision of bill text in PDF format.The availability of bill text in this format allows a bill to be printed in the same exact page and line number format as the master copy of the bill. The user can now accurately apply amendment report descriptions (which locate changes to a bill using page and line numbers) to this PDF version of a bill.
Bill text of all bill versions will continue to be available on the LAWS application in WordPerfect 5.1 format, for user download.Also, the "html" format for the latest version of each bill will continue to be maintained. This allows the user to view the current text of each bill online over the Internet.
The new legislative messaging system provides LAWS users with another information source. By subscribing to this system, the user will receive pertinent legislative-related e-mails, typically once a week. To obtain more details about this option, and to subscribe to this free service, go to /css/sessions/57th/signup.asp.
Check the calendar below for the projected key dates related to information availability:
TENTATIVE CALENDAR FOR LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION AVAILABILITY:
10/01/2000 Internet access to LAWS is made available to the public.
10/15/2000 Reports (including the Cumulative Bill Draft Request Report) and the text of edited bill drafts are available over the Internet.
12/15/2000 Daily Introduced Bill Report is available over the Internet, assuming any bills have been preintroduced by this date.
12/15/2000 Text of introduced bills is available over the Internet, and from the Data Distribution Office, assuming any bills have been preintroduced by this date.
12/18/2000 Data Distribution Office is open part time in Capitol (Room 74); this office will be open full time beginning 01/03/2001.
01/03/2001 57th Legislature convenes.
01/03/2001 Legislative Information Office (including Message Service) opens in Capitol.
01/03/2001 Additional legislative information reports are available over the Internet. These include the Daily Index of Introduced Bills, the Daily Status Report, and the hearing and agenda calendars.
04/24/2001 57th Legislature adjourns (this date assumes a full 90-day session using the proposed legislative calendar).
04/27/2001 Legislative Information Office closes.
SEE NEXT PAGE FOR TELEPHONE NUMBERS
TELEPHONE NUMBERS -- AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME
GENERAL ASSISTANCE VOICE NUMBERS
Legislative Services Division 1-406-444-3064
(How to get/use services offered by the Legislative Services Division)
MetNet Bulletin Board (Office of Public Instruction)1-406-444-1626 (Betsy Nordell)
1-406-444-2765 (Janet Andrew)
(How to connect to the MetNet Bulletin Board System)
NOTE: BBS users should load free "client software" on their PC in order to take advantage of the BBS graphics user interface. Call Betsy or Janet (numbers listed above) for information on obtaining and loading the free client software and connecting to the BBS.
METNET BULLETIN BOARD SYSTEM (BBS)
Local Helena callers 444-4851 Free
Other callers within Montana 1-800-803-6939 Free
Out-of-state callers 1-406-444-4851 Telephone line charges
TELEPHONE NUMBERS -- AVAILABLE TEMPORARILY
These numbers are available for about a 4-6 month period around the time of Montana's regular legislative session.
LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION OFFICE - LEGISLATIVE MESSAGES
Legislative Information Office 1-406-444-4800 Local calls free; else
Legislative Messages by phone 1-406-444-4800 telephone line charges apply
(Both of the above services are available beginning 01/03/2001)
House of representatives (406)444-1865. Senate (406)444-3472.
Legislative Info for TTY/TDD users 1-800-832-0283 Free
It can also be reached by linking from the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH home page, , which is a permanent site and is available year-around. Once you have linked to one or more of the session information sites, simply bookmark the address(es) for future use.
What's new in the legislative information area since last session?
User-maintained "preference list" feature and account creation available. The Internet interface mentioned above provides a special "preference list” feature. A user can build and maintain a file of bill numbers and/or bill draft numbers that are of specific interest. Once the user saves the list, the user can then "click a button" and the status of all the bills in the list are displayed.
This improvement in the "preference list" this year include the capability for the user to create an account online instantly, by supplying a user-id and password of their choice. Previously, the user had to mail in an application to the Legislative Service Division, a process that took several days.
Now, not only can the user create a preference list account online, but the user can build his list of bills with the help of search engines that display bills by subject, primary sponsor, requester, and requesting agency. All bills related to a specific subject, for example, can now be added to a user’s preference list with a single keystroke. The link used to establish a "preference list" account can be accessed from URL: http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/LAW0200W$.Startup?P_SESS=20011.
Bill text available in PDF format. The availability of bill text in PDF format allows a bill to be printed in the same exact page and line number format as the master copy of the bill on any printer. The user can now accurately apply amendment report descriptions (which locate changes to a bill using page and line numbers) to this PDF version of a bill. Once a specific bill's text is available on the internet, simply scroll to the bottom of the bill and click the link "Authorized print version w/line numbers (PDF format)".
LAWS Messaging System. This is another great LAWS information source. By subscribing to this free system, the user will receive pertinent legislative-related emails, typically once a week. To obtain more details about this option go to /css/sessions/57th/signup.asp.
What information is available from the Data Distribution Office in the basement (Room 74) of the Capitol?
FREE REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS:
Daily Agenda (House and Senate calendar of bills scheduled for 2nd and 3rd reading)
Hearing Calendar (List of bills scheduled for hearing today and the following legislative day)
BILLS, REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE AT A MINIMAL CHARGE:
Several other reports, which are produced on a non-daily basis and are available at a minimal charge, include:
Index to Introduced Bills
Bill Draft Request List by Subject
Bill Draft Request List by Requestor
Bill Draft Request List by Requesting Agency
Code Sections Affected List
You can also subscribe to the legislative proceedings for the 2001 session. There are three options available, and the price depends on whether you pick up the material at the Distribution Office, or if you have the material mailed out to you.
The prices for proceedings are as follows:
COMPLETE SET OF PROCEEDINGS: $975.00
STATUS SHEETS DAILY: PICKED-UP - $100.00; MAILED - $210.00
STATUS, JOURNALS & INDEX: $195.00
ONE COMPLETE SET means: ONE copy of each item of the proceedings of a session, regular or special, of the Legislature.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE LEGISLATURE means: status sheets, daily journals, reproduced bills, reproduced resolutions, printed bills, printed resolutions, and amendments thereto, together with such other related documents as the Legislative Services Division may choose to include.(5-11-211, MCA)