Last week I posted some of the latest legislative proposals out of the 113th Congress that would affect either some aspect of the pharma industry or FDA. That information is housed on a tab on the Eye on FDA site about proposed legislation.
But if you are interested in tracking legislation yourself – especially particular bills, there are a number of handy tools to help you out. Below are some that I have found useful from time to time and each offer some unique characteristics and services that may fill a particular need you have beyond tracking.
- Congress.gov – This site is a government sponsored site that is still in beta, but that is far more user-friendly than previous government sponsored sites that tracked legislation. Here on the landing page, you can have access to search for particular bills using either the bill number or a key search term, a link to the Congressional Record, ability to search for a particular member and to see the delegation from a particular state as well as a link to an explanation of the legislative process. When you search for a particular bill number, you will get that number in the current Congress as well as in past sessions. The result is similar when you use a search term (such as “pharmaceutical”), but there are a number of filters that allow you to narrow your search (to the current Congress, for example).
- GovTrack.us – This tool is brought to you by a private company called Civic Impulse, LLC. From the landing page of this site, you can not only look up proposed legislation as well as members, there is also a link to research voting records. The site has the added benefit of giving you the ability to search the 50 states as well for legislation using a key word search and has a Twitter feed @GovTrack so that you can follow commentary and developments.
- OpenCongress – While Congress.gov is a government resource, and GovTrack sponsored by a private company, OpenCongress comes to us from the non-profit sector – a project of the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation. Like the other two, there is the ability to search for bills based on number and key words and like GovTrack, from the landing page you can jump to voting records. Two nice features about OpenCongress, among many, are the fact that you can do head-to-head voting comparisons of members and there is a page from the landing page that you can jump to that allows one to write a letter to your member of Congress. A section called “The Money Trail” also allows one to see – by industry sector – where contributions have gone.