The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

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February 15, 2007

Legislation Pains

Scouring legislation when reporting on a new bill seems like a corner post of journalistic practice. Obtaining these bills before they become available online, however, can be ridiculously difficult and frustrating.

The press offices of various lawmakers always seem surprised and a little put off when I decline the press release they want to feed me about a new bill instead of the actual bill itself. They often act as if just finding the bill and attaching it to an email is burdensome – and may take hours. And often, it does.

The impression that requesting legislation from lawmakers is a rare occurrence leads us to ask: aren’t other reporters reading bills before they report on them? Or are they simply regurgitating press releases? And if no one in the office can find a piece of legislation quickly, what are the members of Congress going on when they vote?


Benjamin Melançon: This could be a News Story

This should be made into a NewStandard feature article!

"TNS Investigates: If Your Congressional Office Doesn't Have Pending Legislation on Hand, How Does Anyone Know What Laws are Passed?"

With a sidebar on "Who Killed Habeus Corpus?" and a stats graph "Senators who didn't read the final version of the Military Commissions Act."

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.