Available for all 50 States, plus DC and Puerto Rico
New to a state and want to find out the government players? Need to track legislation at the statehouse? Want to be notified when bills pop up on a certain topic in your state? A great new tool helps you do all this and more to keep up with state government. The Sunlight Foundation has recently released Open States, a website and mobile app.
Citizens, as well as journalists, can use Open States to:
- find one’s local legislators
- see how s/he voted
- correspond with the legislator
- track bills and/or get emails about bills and topics with Scout
- map the district in which one lives
- find an archive of bills from past sessions
- track similar topics, such as gun safety laws, across states
Plus is offers much more. It scrapes state websites for data – -get this — every night! So it’s up-to-date. I’m amazed by all the coding that makes this possible.
The quickest way to learn how to use this great tool — is by watching this four minute video.
The website and mobile app are a project of the Sunlight Foundation. It’s a seven-year old non-profit begun by securities lawyer Michael Klein with a purpose to use the Internet and new technology to make government more transparent. The foundation is a reputable organization with a veteran of campaign disclosure heading a staff of about 40. The advisory board includes notables, such as execs from Harvard, Wikipedia, and Apple.
If you’re interested in how a “community” of developers built this using open-source, this video explains it. And for you data hounds, Open States offers all its data, including the API, bulk downloads and the Open States iOS Application.