Full Text Search

LegiScan is very happy to announce the release of our improved LegiScan Search feature, now with full text indexing and complex search logic. Keyword searches should be significantly more flexible and return larger ranked result sets relevant to your query. A service such as this has not been offered in the United States before and presents some interesting challenges. We continue to work on improving the search service to bring more accurate and salient results. Below are some tips and guidelines to help you get the most out of the new capabilities.

If searching for a specific bill number, be sure to read about bill numbers within the LegiScan API framework.

Text Search Tips

  • Search terms should be lower case, capitalization can be used to match proper name
  • Operators must be capitalized, otherwise they will be interpreted as search terms
  • By default all terms combine as OR, returning larger result set, utilize AND to restrict the match set
  • Logic Operators:
    • AND expression AND expression matches documents which are matched by both of the subexpressions
    • OR expression OR expression matches documents which are matched by either of the subexpressions (DEFAULT)
    • NOT expression NOT expression matches documents which are matched by only the first subexpression
    • + / - A group of terms with some marked with + and - will match documents containing all of the + terms, but none of the - terms
  • Keyword prefixes are colon prefixed terms that search specific meta data fields
    • Note: there are NO spaces before or after the colon in keyword prefixes, and only accept a single value
    • status: matches documents with specific progress status. Ex: status:passed
    • sponsor: matches documents with sponsors that have the specified first or last name. Ex: sponsor:smith
    • chamber: matches documents that originated from the specified chamber. Ex: chamber:S
    • type: matches documents that are of the specified bill type. Ex: type:JR
    • intro: matches documents that were prefiled/introduced on a particular day. Ex: intro:2011-01-04
    • action: matches documents which had actions on the specified date. Ex: action:3/15/2011
    • votes: matches documents that have at least one roll call vote associated with it. Ex: votes:yes
  • Grouping:
    • Quotes: A phrase surrounded with double quotes ("") matches documents containing that exact phrase
    • Parentheses: Control the precedence of boolean logic operators. Ex: (one OR two) AND three
  • Proximity Operators:
    • NEAR Matches documents containing those words within 10 words of each other. Ex: one NEAR two NEAR three
    • ADJ Similar to NEAR, but matches if the words appear in the same order as in the query. Ex one ADJ two ADJ three
    • You can override the 10 word proximity threshold to n by using NEAR/n or ADJ/n. Ex: one NEAR/6 two

Prefix Value Notes

  • The status: prefix accepts the following values: introduced, enrolled, engrossed, passed, vetoed
  • The sponsor: prefix expects a single name, first or last.
  • The chamber: prefix accepts the following values: S, H, A
  • The chamber: prefix can use H and A interchangeably
  • The type: prefix accepts the following values: B, R, CR, JR
  • The intro: and action: prefixes prefer dates formatted as YYYY-MM-DD, but will attempt to interpret any valid date format


  • status:passed AND tax
    • Match passed legislation relevant to tax
  • type:B AND (health insurance)
    • Match bills originating concerned with health insurance
  • chamber:S AND type:B AND intro:2014-01-01
    • Match all Senate Bills that were introduced on Jan 1, 2014