Tea Party

Watchdog Training


Tea Party Watchdog Training Program


Searching for a Bill(s)

Before you can track and follow legislation, you need to be able to identify the legislation you want to track.  There are many ways to search for specific bills.  Some are simple others more complex and sophisticated.  This training is to help you start with basic searches.  As you become more familiar with the website, you be able to explore search options that best suit your needs.  We will begin with the basic search available on the main TLO Homepage.

  • Enter in a word or phrase to search for a bill that you may wish to track.  (Note that this type of search may bring up many bills that may not be relevant to your issues.  More sophisticated search options can help you scrub out extraneous bills that may show up in your search.)
Bills in Congress


  • Select [Go].  A list of bills will come up providing information and links to the legislation.  (Note that early in the legislative session, many bills may be filed for a single issue.)  You will be able reference bills by number, see the text of the bill, and see other documents like the bill.  It is recommended that you print this page or copy the bill numbers as a reference when you create your Bill Watch List.  Repeat for different subjects.
  • In this example we have typed in “voter identification”.  As you can see, 10 matches were identified as meeting your search criteria.  Each item has a hyperlink to the bill itself, identifies the author of the bill, and may show a caption and/or an excerpt of the legislation depending on which view you select.  You may also sort by Bill Number.  In some cases, a link to other similar legislation is available.
    Searching bills in Congress

  • For more sophisticated searches, you may wish to use the [Search] function on the TLO toolbar to do your searches.  Place the cursor over the [Search] button on the TLO toolbar and a drop down menu will appear.  Select [Text Search].
Texas 82nd Legislative Session bill search


  • Next, type in the search criteria and select [Search].
Texas bills in the House

Again you will get a list of bills associated with your search.

Voter ID Bill Texas
  • You may also load a saved search or save the current search by selecting one of the following links "Load Search" or "Save Search":
Searching Voter ID Bills


The first two searches you have seen have been based on text searches.  These can be tricky because you must find the right keywords to search on or you could miss out on identifying bills that could be important to you.  The next search is a Bill Search.

  1. Place the cursor over the [Search] button on the TLO toolbar and a drop down menu will appear.  Select [Bill Search].
Texas Bill search


The screen that appears will give you several different search options.  The one we will demonstrate is the subject criteria search.  In this case we will select several subject areas related to “Elections”.

  • From the Bill Search screen, go to the Subject section and [select subject criteria].
House Bills in Congress

A Subjects screen will appear. 

Legislation in Texas House

  • Place the cursor over the subject topic you wish to search on and click to select.  Use the arrow keys in the middle of the screen to select or remove subject topics from the search criteria.
  • Select [OK] on the Subjects screen and the Bill Search criteria will automatically populate.
voter id search
  • Select [Search] and you will get a list of bills associated with your subject area(s).


Now you have enough information to create a watch list.

Tea Party Watchdog Training Program