Alder Yannette Figueroa Cole
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Figueroa Cole’s Updates
City of Madison Website Navigation Tips & Legistar
The City of Madison's website is a wealth of information. Each agency has a landing page with menus and detail information on available services. The website is my first stop for answers when I get inquiries from you.
However, one place I visit often is the Legistar page. Allow me to share some tips I have picked up along the way to help me stay connected and informed.
What is Legistar?
It is a tool used to manage documents such as agendas & supporting files; meeting videos, meeting minutes and organizes and tracks legislative information.
Legistar allows for the sharing of past, present and future meeting dates. It also allows users to search the tool and export information into other tools such as Excel for easy tracking and reporting.
How to access Legistar?
There are multiple ways to get to the page:
- Via the main website at www.cityofmadison.com
- Via the City Hall landing page
- Via the Legislative Information links or page
- Or my favorite way: https://madison.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
- Add this link to your favorites and/or add to your browser's bookmark list for easy access
Legistar Menu - Meetings
Legistar has a comprehensive menu for users to explore. It includes general information as well as Boards, Commissions and Committees information and its members.
For this navigation introduction we will be covering the Meetings menu for the most part. The tool allows for all available legislative related data to be displayed, to narrow the search:
- From the SEARCH area select a date range from the dropdown list
From the SEARCH area select a Boards, Commissions and Committees from the dropdown list
The SEARCH box can be used in combination with the two items above when looking for specific terms
LEGISTAR MENU - MEETINGS - LIST VIEW
In this example, the results include Last Month's City Council meetings. This page contains the list of meetings based on the search criteria and general details for each meeting.
- Search box - Use text or Legistar id's
- click "Help" for additional searching tips
- Date Dropdown: Allows to select a specific year or period within the year, e.g., "Last Month", "Today", "Next Week"
- Dropdown: Allows to select a board, commissions or committee
- General information about the meeting: Date, Time & Location
- Meeting details lands on a table format of the agenda that can be exported to Excel, PDF or Word
- Lands on Agenda PDF file - PDF files can be downloaded to your computer and/or printed
- Lands on Minutes PDF file details
- If recording is available, clicking on the icon lands on the online Madison City Channel library
- Search the media library for the specific video
Meetings Menu - List View - Specific Meeting & Agenda Items List
To gain access to additional information on a specific meeting, click on the agenda to open the PDF file or click on the "Meeting Details" link to get a list of the items in the agenda.
Header (Top) of the form:
- General Meeting information, agenda, minutes, video and status
Bottom of the form:
- File # hyperlink will land on the agenda item details, the latest version of the file and the agenda item number are also listed
- Action indicates if the agenda item was granted, referred or any other action taken
- Results indicate the status of the item, e.g., "pass", "fail".
- Action Details will land on the vote's details, action taken and when applicable the list of alders and their votes
Use the "Export" button to export the table to your computer. I use the Excel format to keep track of my notes when I am reviewing the agenda. The export contains the information in this table view only. Each agenda item contains additional information. Continue to the next section . . .
Meetings Menu - List View - Specific Agenda Item - History Tab
Each agenda item is attached to a file number. This number is referenced in discussions, meetings and other agenda items. This id it is used to keep supporting data together in a way that provides traceability. Clicking on the file id hyperlink opens a page that contains everything about the item.
The Header of the form contains the version of the item, name the primary committee, dates, sponsors and any supporting files.
The Bottom of the form contains two tabs:
- History: Chronological list of actions taken, who took the action and the result of each action.
- Action details contains who brought the action to the floor, who second it and the vote details
- Text: Contains the language of the item and fiscal notes when applicable. Here is where I spend most of my time when preparing for meeting. The agenda itself only has a title with a brief summary of the item, it is not enough information to prepare for discussion. This information is not included in the agenda export; hence I use the excel file to keep track of questions or concerns that may get raised by the text tab.
Meetings Menu - List View - Specific Agenda Item - Text tab
The Council Meeting's agenda is extensive. It can take a few hours to go over the entire document. We get a file that contains supporting information for each item, but I prefer to get the data directly from the Legistar tool. I can control the flow of documents to view and it feels less overwhelming to focus on one item at the time. To see the full language, expand the view by clicking on "Click here for full text".
Last tip for this entry: To find old or new items coming down the pipe, go to the Legislation Menu and use the Advanced search. This page has many available options to pull data and to organize it
Hope this information is useful and makes for an easier navigation of the Legistar tool!
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