At all times, various policies are in different stages of the policy-making process. Some issues are being framed as problems by legislators, the executive branch is making new policy proposals, and other policies have been enacted and are in the process of being implemented. Can you identify government actions that are in certain stages of the policy cycle? We will use the website www.govtrack.us (Links to an external site.), which is a tool that provides free, comprehensive tracking of the activities of Congress.
- Choose a bill that was recently placed on the agenda by visiting the link http://www.govtrack.us/events/introduced-bills (Links to an external site.) and selecting a topic that interests you. What is the current status of this bill? What will happen next?
- Use the following section of the site http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/ (Links to an external site.) to learn which stage bills are in. Using this site, explore various bills and find a bill in each of the following stages: policy formation, legitimation, and implementation. Click into each bill and learn what it is about and what happened to it. How can you tell which stage the bill is in? What is the difference among these stages?
- Finally, look for bills in a subject area that interests you. At http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/ (Links to an external site.), use the Find a bill tab and enter a topic in the search box that interests you or choose a topic from the list of subject areas. How many bills are active within this topic area? Are the bills sponsored more by one party or in a certain house of Congress? How many of the bills have passed? Summarize the activities within this subject area.