Public Editor

Bill numbers more useful in Internet age

Readers very often ask me to explain things they read in The Kansas City Star. But I don’t always have an answer — and sometimes when the question is rhetorical, I think it raises an excellent point. Here’s one of those from emailer Derek Ward:

When The Star reports on the status of legislation, federal or state, why does it so often fail to even include the bill number and never a link to the appropriate legislative web page where someone could read the bill?

Admittedly, 30 years ago, the bill number would have given the reader little useful information as most readers had no access to bills.

But with the information a quick link or search away, why not include the information or link?

There’s no reason a story shouldn’t include that information, and I agree that it would be extremely useful. I have made the suggestion to the reporters and editors who cover politics, and have also shared it with the Web editors, who often add links and additional information to online packages of content.