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What do you care about? What do you want to be notified about?

How to think about Subscriptions

A Subscription represents "your subscribed interest" of a particular concept. Concepts that can be subscribed to are:
  • Bills
  • Representatives
  • Committees
  • Lobbying Principals
  • Tags
As described below, subscribing to a concept propagates any events related to that concept into your home feed.

What does 'subscribing' do?

At its root, subscribing to a concept propagates any related legislative events into your home feed. This means it will also propagate events into your organization's feed as well.
How this works depends on the type of concept being subscribed to.


Subscribing to a bill is the easiest concept to understand. Essentially if we identify a new legislative event associated with a bill, we'll let you know.
Good to know
Just because subscribing to a bill is straightforward doesn't mean it's the most maintainable strategy. If you really care about "all bills relating to Animal Rights", then you should look at subscribing to Tags.


Subscribing to a particular committee will alert you to all events of bills that the committee has reviewed. For instance, if the following is true:
  • AB1 goes through the Assembly Committee on Health,
  • you subscribe to the Assembly Committee on Health
then you will receive notifications for all legislative events relating to AB1(not just the hearings).

Lobbying Principals

Subscribing to a principal will alert you to all events of bills that the principal has registered for. For instance, if:
  • The Wisconsin Nurses Association registers lobbying activity on AB2
  • you subscribe to Wisconsin Nurses Association
then you will receive notifications for all legislative events relating to AB2.


Subscribing to a representative will alert you to all events of any bills for which the representative has sponsored or cosponsored. For instance, if:
  • Representative Darling sponsored bills AB3 and AB762
  • you subscribe to Representative Darling
then you will receive notifications for all legislative events relating to AB3 and AB762.


Subscribing to a tag will alert you to all events of any bills that have been associated with the tag. For instance, if:
  • AB4 and AB356 have been tagged with carbon emissions
  • and you subscribe to carbon emissions
then you will receive notifications for all legislative events relating to AB4 and AB356.

Best Practices in Subscribing

Much of the following documentation is reminiscent of this segment of Stanford University's "Marshmallow Experiment":
Stanford marshmallow experiment
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a study on delayed gratification in 1972 led by psychologist Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University.[1] In this study, a child was offered a choice between one small but immediate reward, or two small rewards if they waited for a period of time.
In short there is the "immediate gratification" of subscribing to a bill (which to be clear, is not always a lesser approach), and then a "delayed gratification" approach in subscribing to the more abstract concept that you actually care about.
For instance, imagine you are lobbying on behalf of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and a bill, AB53 relating to "shot shell restrictions and the hunting of fur-bearing animals".
You could simply subscribe to AB53 and be alerted to related events.
You could:
  1. 1.
    assign a public hunting tag to it (and create it, if none exists)
  2. 2.
    subscribe to the public hunting tag
Much like the marshmallow experiment, there is more work that goes into the second approach, but there is also a much more beneficial outcome.

Benefits of subscribing to the "abstract concept", rather than the bill

By subscribing to the hunting tag earlier, you gained the following benefits:
  1. 1.
    When another bill comes out relating to hunting as it inevitable will, and is assigned the tag hunting by an OurGov employee, a member of the public, or someone else, you will automatically be alerted to the bill's events due to the assignment of the hunting tag.
  2. 2.
    By assigning the hunting tag to AB53, it will show up in the Tag's page (example). This makes it valuable (and easy!) to see all the bills relating to a particular topic (or tag).
  3. 3.
    We can also use this data for analytics, answering questions like:
    1. 1.
      which representative sponsored the most bills relating to healthcare reform?
    2. 2.
      who should I reach out to for a new bill on reproductive rights?
If you had just subscribed to AB53, all of the future benefits of the abstract concept subscription would have been lost.
The following table describes best practices for when to use each type of subscription:
When To Subscribe
When you care about a particular idea, like "gun rights" or "loan abatement".
Lobbying Principals
When you want to follow all the activity of a particular lobbying principal.
Similar to tags, subscribing to a committee will provider a certain expectation of "subject matter" or a "concept".
This is valuable for staffers and representatives that want to be made aware when a particular representative signs onto a bill, but otherwise is less common.
This is still valuable to do, especially if the bill relates to a topic you don't normally care about but might for some reason this election. Subscribe to the bill when none of the other cases apply.