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How Policy Management Tools Help Ease Legislative Friction

Maleka Momand March 30, 2023

Bills, bills, bills. No, not those kinds of bills. ???? We’re talking about the hundreds, even thousands, of bills in state legislatures right now. Most state governments are in the thick of the legislative session, a particularly chaotic time for all stakeholders, especially executive agencies.

Why is the legislative session so important to the executive branch?

State legislatures pass laws, which are then signed into law by the Governor’s office. Then, executive branch agencies are responsible for creating, administering, and enforcing regulations that reflect the intention of the laws that were passed. The upstream bills introduced in the legislative session have massive downstream implications for the executive branch’s agenda.

Executive branch agencies spend enormous amounts of time closely monitoring incoming bills that may involve their organization. Most state governments require executive branch agencies to conduct bill analysis to quantify the impact of proposed legislation on the agency’s workload.

The legislature also approves the proposed budgets of executive branch agencies. Legislators approve major new expenses, carve out parts of the budget, and set up guard rails for agency spending for the next 1-2 years. It’s in the agency’s best interest to play close attention and advocate for budget approvals in order to execute their responsibilities.

Simply put, the legislative session sets the policy and financial priorities for years to come in executive branch agencies. The short, 3 month-long legislative sessions that occur each year (or every other year in some states) require a tremendous amount of focus and attention to detail from executive branch agencies already laden with their daily work.

How do policy management tools help ease legislative friction?
We frequently hear from our customers that the legislative session is “the most stressful and important time of year” in state government. Esper’s mission is to empower government agency policymaking with best in class technology, doubly so when times are tough.

Here are a few ways Esper can support your agency’s workload during legislative session:

Tag impacted regulations
When a new bill is passed that directly impacts regulations already on the books in your agency, you can tag those regulations directly within Esper. By tagging the impacted regulations, you are creating an easy to find list of the regulations that will require amendments after the legislative session.

Forecast team workload
After you identify regulations that will need to be amended or promulgated, you can create Rulemaking projects and assign out the work to your colleagues.

Esper’s rulemaking dashboard shows the timeline for policy projects
Esper’s Task Dashboard allows you to forecast out the workload up to a year in advance, helping you understand which team members may have too much on their plate and where you may need additional coverage.

Set up alerts for changing laws & regulations
In addition to your state’s laws, you are likely tracking federal regulations and legislation that are tied to your agency’s program areas. Esper allows you to set up alerts on state & federal regulations and laws, so anytime a policy that you’re interested in changes, you are automatically notified.

This is especially valuable to agencies that have intergovernmental program areas and need to closely monitor the Federal Register.

Understand how other state governments approach specific policy areas
“How is X state tackling this policy issue?” has got to be one of the most common questions Agency Leadership and State Legislators ask their teams.

Esper’s policy management platform offers a searchable policy database, enabling search policies based on keyword similarity

Esper’s searchable policy database has regulations and laws from state and federal governments. One product feature customers especially love, “Similar Policies,” enables you to quickly search a policy area and compare different state approaches side by side. No more manually combing through clunky, outdated websites to find this information!

We hope this is helpful to you as you wind down your legislative session, and would love to chat about how Esper can support your agency’s policymaking needs. If you’re curious about Esper or just want to say hi, drop us a line!

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