As the American population becomes more urban, more local governments are taking on a regulatory role and passing legislation that has a major impact on businesses and communities.
To monitor the extensive volume of proposed ordinances and discussions across dozens or even hundreds of bodies of local government, public affairs professionals, business development leaders, and lobbyists are turning to local legislative tracking software to stay informed at a scale that is impossible with manual tracking.
Local government legislation tracking software is a type of public affairs software that collects and analyzes public documents from municipal governments, automatically extracts relevant information, and provides users timely alerts about upcoming legislation.
Local legislative tracking software uses advanced data collection techniques to find public documents like meeting minutes and agendas as soon as they are uploaded to the web and then analyzes the content of those documents to identify mentions of key topics.
Using machine learning algorithms, the software determines which mentions are relevant and sets aside the rest. Users then receive real-time alerts for the specific topics they want to monitor. Users can also review all of their topics through an online dashboard.
Best-in-class local legislative tracking software:
Example key issues businesses and associations track within local government include:
Businesses, industry associations, and nonprofit organizations use local legislation tracking software to stay ahead of proposed ordinances, minimize risk, monitor their reputation, and capitalize on opportunities.
Government affairs teams at businesses and industry associations use local legislative tracking software for early warnings of proposed local ordinances that could impact their business or members’ operations. This intelligence is passed on to stakeholders, empowering them to get involved in local government.
Public affairs teams mitigate risk to their operations from local policy change with local legislative tracking software. They also watch for mentions of their company or industry to monitor their business’s reputation, assess attitudes about their industry, and predict future legislation.
Public policy teams monitor local discussions to observe trends in policymaking and find opportunities to engage with local lawmakers to advance specific policies.
Regulatory affairs teams follow changes in local regulations to ensure their organizations stay in compliance. These groups also use the timely updates to proactively engage with lawmakers and make sure new regulations achieve their intended purpose, without unduly burdening businesses.
Business development teams monitor local government discussions to gain a competitive advantage by being the first to identify new business leads in their communities.
Local legislative tracking software can provide timely civic intelligence about new real estate developments, requests for proposals, opportunities to provide contract services to government agencies, and many other types of leads.
Since there is little uniformity in the ways that cities publicize their meeting minutes and agendas, tracking local legislation without an automated tool is a labor-intensive task prone to human error.
To manually track local ordinances, government affairs teams often spend hours each week reviewing Google alerts, reading local newspapers, navigating to individual government websites to download weekly agendas, and reviewing meeting minutes that get emailed to them by city clerks.
Most teams only have the capacity to track a handful of communities, so they monitor the largest municipalities that they operate indirectly and rely on word-of-mouth to stay informed about smaller communities. But this narrow focus tends to lead to a lot of missed opportunities. In many cases, they don’t find out about new ordinances in smaller communities until they have already become law.
Legislative tracking software provides the following benefits:
Like most professional software tools, local government legislation tracking software comes with a subscription fee. Most tools bill either monthly or annually. However, the fee is often small compared to the potential cost of missing a regulatory or policy change and getting fined after the fact.
The software doesn’t replace government affairs teams, but it does help teams and individuals be more efficient. Analysts still need to review alerts and identify action items, but they are able to do so at a speed, accuracy, and scale that is impossible with manual tracking. The tool you choose needs to accommodate the number of users who will access and integrate it with their existing legislative monitoring processes.
Breadth of Data
Some legislative tracking solutions only collect information from cities with populations of 50,000 or more, while others collect data from cities as small as 2,000 residents. It’s important to make sure the tool you are considering provides coverage of all the communities you need to monitor.
Savvy government affairs teams are realizing word of mouth is not a reliable or timely source for intel about legislative and regulatory change at the local level and are turning to automated tracking solutions to make sure they never miss a critical issue.
Using local legislation tracking software is the only way to effectively keep up with policy changes at the municipal level.
Government relations professionals are using these tools to stay ahead of changes, proactively engage with local elected officials and act on opportunities to shape the business environment.
Curate local government monitoring software provides the most comprehensive, trusted, and timely resource of actionable insights from 12,000+ municipal organizations across the country.