Lobbyist-in-a-Box

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Lobbyist-in-a-Box provides users with "profiles" for tracking and reporting legislation.


Free Service:

You may track up to 5 bills in one Lobbyist-in-a-Box "profile" without charge. To register you'll need to fill in your desired user ID and password, your first and last name, and your email address.

Visit Virginia Interactive's Free registration form to sign up.


Fee-based Registration:

A subscription to Lobbyist-in-a-Box offers the ability to create multiple profiles, each containing bill lists and notification options. Email notification triggers an email when bills are sponsored by a member of the General Assembly, referred to a House or Senate Committee or contain specific key word(s), phrases, or Code section(s). The cost of this service is $400 for state agencies and $600 for all other subscribers.

To subscribe, please take a look at the subscription fee agreement.


Creating profiles:

If you are primarily interested in being notifed of legislative events, and have little interest in maintaining a bill list, choose email notification only. You'll always have the option of adding bills to this profile at a later date.

If you know bill tracking will be a part of your profile, choose bill tracking and email notification. Regardless of which type of profile you begin with, you have the option of maximizing or minimizing to include or exclude either view.

When your profile is created it uses a default name ("MyProfile") and description, containing the date and time of creation. You may change the name and/or description (recommended) by clicking on properties from your profile view.


Managing profiles:

  • You add bills or resolutions to your profile by keying in bill numbers. Bills are added one at a time or in groups. Groups are added by keying bills into the entry form with a comma (or a space) between each. For example: hb1, hb9, sb4, sb9. To delete a bill (or bills) from a list, select the adjacent check boxes and click delete selected items.

    You may also enter bills by viewing:  legislation introduced by day, legislation sponsored by Members, referred to House or Senate Committees or by subject. Additionally, you may search for key word(s), phrases, or Code sections. When you view each list, select the bill(s) you want to include in your profile.

  • To delete profiles, select the adjacent box, check you're sure? and click remove checked items. Be cautious!... once you click the button, it's gone. We are not able to recover deleted profiles. Use a similar procedure for removing bills, members, committees, etc. from your profile(s).

  • To copy a profile, click on properties and then key in the new profile name and description.

  • You may choose to receive email notification for each profile. You can be notified when:

    • (any) legislation is introduced (click on introduced to enable notification)
    • a member of the General Assembly sponsors legislation (click on patron for a list of members to choose from)
    • bills are referred to committee (click on committee for a list to choose from)
    • key word(s), phrases, or Code Sections appear in newly offered legislation (click on phrase to enter your search terms)
    • any of your bills has had a status change.... "updated by status change" (click on updated to enable status change notification).

    Please review "frequently asked questions".

    You may choose to be alerted hourly (for those that wish frequent updates) or daily. Click on properties to review your options. Question marks (???) next to your profile description are an indication that you are configured for notification but have not provided an email address.

  • Once a profile is created you can select composite view showing bill number, patron, committee and last action. By pressing the view link you can toggle between a view with or without your notes. In addition to the composite view, you'll also be able to create a report (an html-formatted file) showing bill number, patron, bill title, summary, etc; or a csv (comma-separated values) file, suitable for spreadsheet and database programs. Note: Please see frequently asked questions related to html attachments.

  • To assist you with your profile organization, try the bill cross-reference.


Creating Reports:

  • Using the check boxes, select those items you wish to include in your report.

  • You can use from / thru fields to filter your list. These are optional fields. If you leave both fields blank, the system will assume all bill numbers within the selected category. As an example: if you are viewing a profile which contains many bills but only want to include hb10 through hb20 in your output, enter those bill numbers in their respective fields. If you leave the thru bill number blank, the system will assume you want "thru" the last bill number within the selected category. Another example: If you want just house bills, you can enter from: hb1 thru: hb9999. Be sure to enter bill numbers in the correct format (ie. hb1, sr6, sj245) with no intervening blanks and a maximum of 4 digits.

  • You can further filter your list by specifying an activity date ("select bills with activity since or on: mm-dd-yy"). Select one of the radio buttons and use the correct format. For example, January 8th, 2004 would be entered as 01-08-04. Leave the field blank (or with its default prompt: mm-dd-yy) to include all qualifying bills. If you choose since, "activity" refers to those bills with history action dates equal to and greater than the date specified. If you choose on, then qualifying bills must have history action dates equal to the date specified.

  • If you include an email address the report will be prepared offline and emailed to you, usually within 15 minutes (depending on system load). Please see frequently asked questions related to html attachments. If you omit your email address, the report will be prepared and displayed online.

  • Please note: response times depend on items selected and number of bills in the list. Online responses are limited to a document size of approximately 80K. Email responses are limited to 160K (approximately 100 pages). You may find it convenient to use bill number ranges (described above) to manage output size. Be aware that text elements (titles, summaries, amendments, votes) require additional resources and therefore take longer to prepare.


Comma-separated values files:

  • Comma-separated values files csv (also known as comma-delimited files) are suitable for spreadsheet or database input. Select those elements you are interested in as described in the "reports" section.


Frequently asked questions:

  • I'm not getting my email!!

    Check your "spam" preferences. It's possible that our emails are being diverted/deleted... either through explicit action you've take... or by your ISP (email administrator) on your behalf. Call your email administrator with questions.

  • I know a legislative event has occured, which should have triggered an email alert... yet I never received it?

    Some organizations, including a few state agencies, have chosen to block emails in an attempt to prevent viruses. Check with your email administrator to make sure your alert is not being held via email security protocols.

  • I received an email, supposedly containing an html attachment, but the attachment is not there?

    Similar answer... some organizations, including a few state agencies, have chosen to block html attachments in an attempt to prevent viruses. Unfortunately, many of these organizations run software that cannot determine if the attachment contains live code, or if the sender is trusted versus unknown... and therefore, block all html attachments. Contact your email administrator for more information. This is not an issue with commercial ISPs, such as AOL, Earthlink, etc... where you define acceptable attachments, rather than the email administrator.

  • I seem to have lost some bills from 1 or more of my profiles... What's going on?

    Your profiles endure across sessions, however prior year bills contained in those profiles are only retained for the purpose of tracking continued legislation. This is, legislation carried over from an even year (long session), to an odd year (short session). Please call our help desk if you have any questions.

  • After I log on, and am told that the logon is successful, I am presented with another log-in prompt, or a message stating that my user ID is invalid. Why?

    Our system uses cookies to manage access. Select your browser's preferences or options and make certain cookies are allowed. Some systems allow cookies in a "restricted mode"... so make sure LIS is included in your "OK" list. Also, clear your browser's local cache (temporary files). If you're still having problems, check with your ISP or tech support staff. Sometimes documents are cached locally on "proxy" servers which may give you misleading results.

    If you're trying to view the results of an email alert (without success) and you've gone through the steps above, your mail system browser may not be co-operating. Some mail systems invoke their own browser software. Make sure your email preferences are configured to use Mozilla or Explorer as the web access method. As always, if you need assistance, call our Help Desk.

  • Sometimes it appears that I'm viewing out-of-date information on your web site. Why?

    Clear your browser's local cache. For Explorer.. go to tools, internet options, delete temorary files. For Mozilla, go to tools, options, network... clear. If you're still having problems, check with your ISP or tech support staff. Sometimes documents are cached locally on "proxy" servers which may give you misleading results.

  • When I pressed enter, after keying in my bills, I received the following message: 'One or more bills not added'. What does it mean?

    This is caused by one of the following conditions:

    • You may have used an invalid format. Press your back button to correct the format.
    • The bill number you entered does not exist.
    • The bill number you entered is already on your list.
    • You have exceeded the bill limit.

  • When I am navigating through my profiles and their respective bills, I sometimes see bills or profiles which I have already deleted or modified in some way.

    Because of the nature of web browsers (specifically the back and forward buttons, and browser cache), it may be necessary to use the reload/refresh button if ever in doubt as to the current status of your profiles, or the bills on your profiles. If you find yourself buried in history screens, use the drop down menu to navigate (or escape) to any part of LIS.

  • I received an email alert. When I went to look at the list of bills with changes, there were no bills listed?

    This can happen for 2 reasons. If your email alert is more than 3 days old, the changes are considered "stale" and may have rolled off the change log. Also.. if you remove or modify your notification configuration or you change notification to "don't" or "disable" after the email alert is generated, nothing will show up. You can always set your configuration back if you want to see the alert result.

  • I received an email alert, but when I went to look at the bills that supposedly had a status change, I could not detect any changes. Why?

    While we do our best to accurately detect changes, the data capture process can become quite volatile during session. It is sometimes possible for changes to occur and then be quickly reversed. The system will detect the change, but because of various circumstances, may not detect the change reversal. Also, occasionally changes are made to a bill... to correct an error, or change a committee referral... which may not be reflected in the history date, but which do trigger an alert event.

  • Considering the hourly email alert, why do I see "from/through" times that do not reflect the "top of the hour" or exceed a span of 1 hour (or even a day)?

    The process does run hourly. Lets look at an example.... say the process runs at 10:00, but the last change took place at 09:30. Your "through" time would be stated as 09:30 in this case. Let's further say that the process that ran at 09:00 captured its last change at 08:15. In this case, your "from/through" times for an alert issued from the 10:00 process would be stated as "between 08:15 and 09:30".


Contact our Help Desk:

Please call: Legislative Automated Systems DLAS (804-786-9631) or Virginia Interactive (804-318-4133) for additional information or assistance.


Legislative Information System