Legislative "Summaries" (and how you can customize them for your needs) (Repost)

(This article was first posted January 29, 2015)

I always notice during this part of the legislative session that bill summaries get longer and longer. There is something of an art to condensing a long and intricate piece of legislation into a concise summary, and I imagine during the rush of the session, legislative staff have a lot less time to craft those summaries.

The Office of Legislative Legal Services has a nice description of how they write these on Legisource: Bill Summaries — Your Source for the “Quick and Dirty” on a Bill

But take a look at HB15-1139 - Review State Rules Reduce Burden On Small Business, its summary is about 750 words, and nearly 5,000 characters. I can't imagine the bill itself is much longer. That's impressive and it really stretches the definition of the word "summary" to the limit.

If you are using the free tracking services on LegisPeak, you may find that these long bill summaries make your customized report confusing and ugly (Like my Generic Tracking Service report). Well, if you are using the tracking service, you can customize the summary by clicking the edit link. This way, you and anyone you share your tracked bill page with will see a summary that is more appropriate for your needs.

As always, let us know if we can help or if you have questions.