The simplest search is a one word search. For example, if you were searching for legislation that had to do with the election, you could simply type the word election into the Search Bills textbox, and leave the Search Type combobox selected as ALL. The results will list all Bills that contain the word election, anywhere within the text of every analysis. It should be noted that searches are never case-sensitive, so there is no need to be concerned whether-or-not it is most appropriate to use capital or lowercase letters.
Searching with phrases is one way to narrow the results shown from using a simple search. For example, let’s assume you only want to see results that contain a specific phrase containing the word election, such as 2010 General Election. In order to search for that specific phrase, you must wrap quotations around your search phrase. In this case you would enter "2010 General Election" in the Search Bills textbox.
Searching Multiple Words using AND
Searches do not have to be simple keywords or complete phrases. You may search for the presence of multiple words, or even multiple phrases occurring in a bill by using the keyword AND. In this example, we are trying to find bills that contain the number 2010, and the word election anywhere in the bill text.
The text entered in the Search Bills textbox would be "2010" and "Election". We use the “ ” to focus on the keywords, and the word AND to ensure both are separately included in the results. This type of search can be used to tie many words or phrases together such as "2010" AND "Election" and "Grace Period".
Searching Multiple Words using OR
Similar to the above example, you can use the word OR in searches. While AND requires the results to contain all of your search terms to be present in the text, using OR will return results that have ANY of the search terms. For example, "Election" or "Guns".
The above searches can also be used with Wildcard searching. A wildcard will allow you to search for a part of a word that exists in a bill. In order to use Wildcards in a search you can use the * character. For example, searching for "Elect*" will return results for election, elections, electoral, etc. Searching for "*Elect" will return results for select, reelect, etc. Wildcards can exist at both the beginning and end of a word, so searching for “*elect*” would return results such as selection and reelection.
Excluding Words using NOT
Another helpful keyword in the search process is the word NOT. For example, if you want to search for the words "Grace Period" but you already know you do not want results about "SB 2925" then you can do a search similar to this: "Grace Period" AND NOT "SB 2925". This can be useful in weeding out results that you know you do not want to see.