The Alabama Legislature website came back online Monday with what officials said is a much-needed facelift.
Senate Secretary Pat Harris called the website “probably the No. 1 legislative website in the nation” Tuesday during a demonstration of the website for stakeholders.
“We improved on everything we had and what ideas we got, not only from other states, but from y’all to make it more functional for what y’all need to do on an everyday basis,” Harris said. “Hopefully this will work out well and make the session work even better.”
The major focal point of the presentation was the update to the website’s bill tracking system, which had been clunky and difficult to manage prior to the revamping, particularly on mobile devices.
The new system allows for bills to be searched more easily, using keywords or more specific information. And now users can search for bills across any session, not just the session currently in progress. Filtering options allow you to view bills by sponsor, session, subject or more and bills can be added to a saved bills area for easier tracking.
Harris said users previously had to do bill tracking through third-party sites.
The home page has been simplified into a grid with options such as “House of Representatives,” “Legislative Services Agency,” and “Bill Search.”
Clicking on one option either leads you to the page or brings you to another grid with options within that group.
The live stream capability has grown considerably with the Covid-19 pandemic, and is now much more easily accessible than in the previous design. Before Monday, a user would have to click through a series of menu options to find the live streams, and it is not immediately clear to users what that series is. Now the live streams have a dedicated tab right on the home page and can also be accessed from many of the other tabs.
A navigation bar to the left of the page directs users to meetings and announcements, where the list of all meetings is posted as well as pertinent information about the meetings such as press releases and the live stream link for the meeting.
Although the site looks very different today than it did just last week, the address remains www.legislature.state.al.us.
Officials have encouraged the public to visit the site and see the navigation for themselves before the 2022 legislative session begins on Jan. 11.