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Issues in Family Policy - FAM SERV 5162 (Fleming)  

Last Updated: Feb 28, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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A Few Tips

  • Bill = proposed law. Enacted = signed into law. Res = resolution (not usually policy issues so avoid these). Need a civics refresher? Watch I'm Just a Bill.

  • Federal bills tend to be a bit easier to research than state bills.

  • Since we are early in the legislative session, there may not be very many bills yet. To get more options, you can search bills from previous years using most of the suggested tools below.

  • Don't worry too much if the % chance of a bill passing is pretty low. That's common & doesn't make the issues any less important.

  • Keywords matter when you search. A search for an Iowa bill using the keywords Planned Parenthood turned up no results because that phrase is not in a bill. But a search for family planning did show results. Try synonyms and related (broader/narrower) terms.

  • Think about policy research as about issues, not about politics.

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Find a State Bill or Law

If selecting state-level legislation, focus only on the state where you are registered to vote.

  • Iowa Legislature
    Use Bill search in left sidebar to search by bill number or issue. Topic browsing also available here. Bill tracking app for Apple and Android devices.
  • Illinois General Assembly
    Search by bill number or keyword. You can set up "My Legislation" email alerts for bills of interest.
  • Wisconsin State Legislature
    Use "Find a Proposal" box to search by bill number, title, or topic keyword.
  • Minnesota State Legislature
    Search House & Senate bills separately by number, or browse each by topic. "My Bills" tracking available with free account.
  • For other states, Google your state's name and "bill search" or "legislature".
  • 50-state bill search by issue
    National Conference of State Legislatures database. Includes state bills on a variety of topics. Updated weekly. Free account required to view bill text.

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Anne Marie Gruber
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Spring 2017 Office Hours: most Mondays 1:30-3:30 outside McCollum 201; Tuesdays/Wednesdays 8am-10am in Rod Library 270
Other times by appointment.
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