Frequently asked questions about finding information on the Virtual Binder
- How do I navigate through the Virtual Binder?
- Click on any button on the home screen to go to that section. Once in a section you will see a house icon on the left just under the General Convention logo. From any place you can click on that house to take you back to the home page. As you click buttons or links to move deeper into the section you will see a directory path after the house icon, showing you the screens you came through to get to that screen. Any item in blue in that path may be clicked to take you to that part of the path.
- How do I change to the other house on the virtual binder?
- Click on the gear icon on the top right of the home screen. The house you are in will be highlighted in blue and checked. Click on the other house to switch to that house’s view of the virtual binder. The main differences will be different agendas, calendars, communications, and elections.
- How do I change the language?
- Click on the gear icon on the top right of the home screen. Then click on the language.
- How do I make the screen larger or smaller?
- On an iPad place two fingers together anywhere on the screen and swipe them away from each other in a spreading motion. This will “stretch” the screen to a larger size. To reduce the screen place two fingers apart from each other and swipe them towards each other in a “pinching” motion. You cannot make the screen smaller than its default size, however.
- What is the “Current Action” section for?
- The Current Action button is a shortcut to see what is currently before the house. The platform operator can place the current committee report (i.e. the resolution), floor amendment, or text communication here. At any time you may quickly get back to what the house is currently discussing by clicking on “current action.”
- How do I find out what’s on the agenda for today?
- Click on the Agenda button on the home page and then click on the agenda button for the day you want to see. The agenda lists all the business of the House for that day, usually including Special Orders, Reports from Committees, Elections, and special presentations.
- How do I view the report on the resolution currently before the House?
- The quickest way to view the committee report currently before the house is to click current action on the home screen.
- I’d like to see what resolutions are coming up next. Where do I find them?
- On the home page, click on Calendars, and then click on the calendar currently before the House. Find the Resolution currently being discussed: all the resolutions listed beneath it are up next on the calendar. You can review reports by clicking on the appropriate report button on the right side of the calendar.
- I’d like to see what’s on the calendars for tomorrow. Where is that information?
- The Legislative Calendar for tomorrow is typically uploaded by the end of the afternoon session. Every Legislative day will have a Legislative Calendar. Click on the Calendars button on the home screen and then click on tomorrow's Legislative Calendar to see what resolutions are up for consideration and the order of their consideration.
The Consent Calendar for tomorrow is typically uploaded more than 24 hours before it is considered, and can be viewed by clicking Calendar on the home page and then the Consent Calendar for tomorrow. No additional resolutions can be added to the Consent Calendar once it is uploaded, but resolutions may be taken off the Consent Calendar before it is voted on – the Secretary will announce which resolutions have been taken off the Consent Calendar before it is voted on.
Note that additional resolutions may be considered tomorrow, and any of these that don't make the deadline for the Legislative Calendar will be placed on an Auxiliary Calendar for tomorrow. Be aware that most days will not have an Auxiliary calendar. To find and view an Auxiliary calendar, from the home page of the Virtual Binder click on Calendars, find the day, and click on the Auxiliary calendar button.
- Where can I find Committee Reports on Resolutions?
- Reports that Committees have filed on resolutions can be found by clicking on the Committee Reports button on the homepage and then clicking on the appropriate committee. A list of reports that have been filed but not yet acted upon by the House appears, along with the recommended action from the committee. Note that there are reports listed from committees in both Houses. Click on the report button on the right to see the report itself.
The Committee Report can also be seen by clicking on the report listed in a calendar. On the report view, on the right side are paragraph buttons which can be used to quickly go to that paragraph of the resolution. In addition you can see the final status of that resolution if it is finished, the first house’s action if applicable, and the calendar this report is on.
- I pre-filed a floor amendment with the Secretariat for an upcoming resolution that will be considered by the House. Why can’t I see that amendment in the Floor Amendments section of the Virtual Binder?
- Floor amendments that have been filed are visible by clicking on the Floor Amendments button on the homepage. Users may “pre-file” an amendment with the Secretariat but it can only be viewed on the Virtual Binder if the user then moves the amendment on the floor and it is declared in order by the presiding officer. At that point the amendment is “filed” and available for all to see. Just because an amendment is pre-filed does not mean it will be filed and visible to the House. Only amendments recognized by the presiding officer during debate will appear on the Virtual Binder. To view these amendments, click on Floor Amendments on the homepage and scroll down to find the amendment you want, and then click on the view button. Amendments being considered on the floor right now can also be viewed by clicking Current Action button on the homepage.
- Where can I find a resolution?
- To view information about resolutions click on the resolutions button on the home screen. Once there you may search for a specific resolution by number, or find resolutions by the committee they were assigned to, their proposer, or their assigned topic. On the resolutions screen you may also browse through all resolutions in number order, 20 per screen. Click on the View button to see the current text of the resolution. Scroll to the bottom of the screen to find a link to view the original language of the resolution, with its explanation.
- What is the best way to track the progress of a resolution?
- Use the Resolutions section of the virtual binder to track resolutions. The search results show the current status of the resolution in the process, what calendar it is on if applicable, and the latest house action. If the resolution’s status is “completed” the latest action will be the final decision made by the General Convention.
- Where can I find the original text and original explanation of a resolution?
- Click the resolutions button then search for the specific resolution. Once you have found the resolution in the results area, click the view button to see the current text. Scroll to the bottom of the current text screen to find an “original version” link. Click this to view the original text. The original explanation will be appended to this original text. The original explanation is only part of the original text. It cannot be found elsewhere. Scroll below the explanation to find a link to take you back to the current text view.
- Where can I find the previous house’s action or the final outcome of a resolution?
- You can see the other house’s action, the final status if applicable, and the calendar on the right side of the screen when viewing a committee report. Or you may search for the resolution in the resolutions section and find the current status and latest action listed in the search results. If the resolution’s status is “completed” the latest action will be the final outcome for that resolution.
- Where do I find the bios of nominees running for election?
- Click on the Elections button on the homepage. Then click the View button for the election you are interested in. A list of nominees will appear. Click on the View button of the nominee bio you wish to read. The bio will then appear on your screen. Note that from this screen you can go to other nominee bios in the same election by clicking on the name of another nominee.
- Can I vote for nominees in an election with my Virtual Binder?
- No, a separate voting system is used for elections.
- Where can I view the results of an election?
- Elections may be completed in one ballot, or it may take many ballots. The results of each ballot in the election can be viewed on the Virtual Binder. Click on the Elections button on the home page. You will see a list of elections. Click on the View button for the election you want to see. Scroll down below the list of nominees on the screen and you will see “Election Results” - the ballot results and the status of the nominees. Those elected will be noted as such. (If there is no information, the election may not have taken place yet).
- How do I find out about hearings on resolutions or about legislative committee meetings?
- Committees schedule hearings on resolutions with the General Convention Secretariat, usually the day before the meeting. Once a hearing is scheduled, it appears on the Virtual Binder. To access the schedule, click on the Legislative Committee Meetings button on the home page. You may find scheduled meetings by resolution number, by committee, or by date. When viewing results you may select the “open hearings only” box to show only the open hearings. Click the more info button to see this information plus resolution titles, information about registering to testify, and additional notes. Please note that internet access may not be available in committee meeting rooms. If you wish to have access to meeting data on your personal devices even when there is no internet access, please save/print a copy of the more info page for each meeting you plan to attend.
- Where do I find out about the actions taken in my House? In the other House? (messages)
- Whenever the House takes action on a resolution (e.g., approves, rejects, concurs, refers, etc.), a message is sent to the other house informing the house of that action. If the action requires a response from the other house, a “message for action” is sent. If no action is needed by the other house, a “message for information” is sent. These messages can be found in the Virtual Binder in the Daily Journal.
To access the Daily Journal click on the Daily Journals button on the homepage. You will see a list of Daily Journals by day for both Houses. To see the messages sent for a particular day, click on that day’s Daily Journal Button. This will then give you a list by message number of all the actions taken by that house on that day. Messages are sent out chronologically, so the higher the message number the more recent the action. As messages are sent they appear on the Daily Journal.
Note that this is a sortable list. To sort messages by Committee number, click on the “Comm.” Header and you will have all the messages related to each committee sorted together. Committee members may want to pay close attention to messages associated with their committee that are sent by the other house for action, since action will be needed by their committee on those resolutions.
Messages may also be sorted by resolution number by clicking the “Resolution” header; by message type by clicking the “Msg. Type” header; and by action by clicking the “Action” header.
- What are communications?
- Communications are simple text announcements or other communications to the House. They are limited to plain text and 65000 characters and must be approved by the Secretary of the House before being posted to the Virtual Binder. They can be placed in the current action section when they are in use, or can be found in the communications section later if kept active by the platform operator.
- Why don’t I see the budget yet?
- The budget draft is produced by the Program, Budget and Finance committee, and is not ready until the day of the joint session on the budget. Once the draft budget is ready, it then takes some time to convert it into the proper format for display on the virtual binder.
- Why doesn’t the budget on the virtual binder match the pdf version posted elsewhere?
- The virtual binder cannot display pdf documents. The budget must be converted to HTML before it can be displayed on the virtual binder. This is a different viewing experience which cannot match the page numbering of the original pdf document. When discussing the budget, it is best to refer to budget lines by both the section title and the budget line.
- Why can’t we have pdf documents available in the Virtual Binder?
- The virtual binder cannot display .pdf documents because of the drain on the network bandwidth this would cause. However, some pdf documents created in advance of General Convention can be found on the iPads, outside of the virtual binder application. Press the large iPad navigation button to get back to the main iPad screen. Then choose the document reader to view the pdf documents available there. When done viewing these documents, press the iPad navigation button again and from the main iPad screen choose the virtual binder application. If you are viewing the virtual binder online version rather than the iPad version, go to the General Convention website at https://generalconvention.org to find publications and other informational documents pertaining to the General Convention.