Posts Tagged ‘Sunlight Foundation’
Sunlight Foundation has made publicly available its OpenStates Legislative Data Report Card, which grades U.S. states on how their “legislatures make their data publicly available.”
Here is an excerpt:
[...] How could we derive a measure of how “open” a state’s legislative data was?
After some consideration, we came up with six criteria on which each state could be evaluated, based on six of the Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information: completeness, timeliness, machine readability, use of commonly owned standards and permanence. We omitted four of the original ten criteria (primacy, non-discrimination, licensing and usage costs) that tended not to present serious differences between states.
Evaluating each state on each criteria was a large task, and with community support we ensured that each state was evaluated by multiple people. After the evaluation was complete, we converted the qualitative data on how a state performed to numeric scores (specific scoring details are available on the report card itself). After summing these scores, states were also assigned a letter grade according to where they fell among their peers. A state with a net score below negative one was given an F, a negative one or zero became a D. With the average total score among states being a 1.5, we gave states with a net score of one or two a C, three became a B, and four and above became an A.
The final breakdown was 8 As, 12 Bs, 20 Cs, 6 Ds, and 6 Fs. If you’re interested in how your state did compared to others you can check out all the details on the Open Legislative Data Report Card. [...]
For more details, please see the complete post.
The Open States law-related data project now covers all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, according to a new post at Sunlight Foundation Blog.
Here is an updated description of Open States:
Open States is a collection of tools that make it possible for citizens to track what is happening in their state’s capitol by aggregating information from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Using the site is simple: enter a U.S. address or select a state to start to research bills, [track bills,] review voting records, contact elected officials and more. [...]
There is a python client for the API.
Sunlight Foundation today released Docket Wrench, an online system that analyzes and summarizes public comments to proposed U.S. federal regulations, according to Nicko Margolies’s post, Docket Wrench: Exposing Trends in Regulatory Comments.
Here is an excerpt of the announcement:
Today the Sunlight Foundation unveils Docket Wrench, an online research tool to dig into regulatory comments and uncover patterns among millions of documents. Docket Wrench offers a window into the rulemaking process where special interests and individuals can wield their influence without the level of scrutiny traditional lobbying activities receive.
Before an agency finalizes a proposed rule that Congress and the president have mandated that they enforce, there is a period of public commenting where the agency solicits feedback from those affected by the rule. The commenters can vary from company or industry representatives to citizens concerned about laws that impact their environment, schools, finances and much more. These comments and related documents are grouped into “dockets” where you can follow the actions related to each rule. Every rulemaking docket has its own page on Docket Wrench where you can get a graphical overview of the docket, drill down into the rules and notices it contains and read the comments on those rules. We’ve pulled all this information together into one spot so you can more easily research trends and extract interesting stories from the data. [...]
For more details, please see the complete announcement.
Here is a description:
A live JSON API for the people and work of Congress, provided by the Sunlight Foundation.
Lots of features and data for members of Congress:
- Look up legislators by location or by zip code.
- Official Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook accounts.
- Committees and subcommittees in Congress, including memberships and rankings.
We also provide Congress’ daily work:
- All introduced bills in the House and Senate, and what occurs to them (updated daily).
- Full text search over bills, with powerful Lucene-based query syntax.
- Real time notice of votes, floor activity, and committee hearings, and when bills are scheduled for debate.
All data is served in JSON, and requires a Sunlight API key. An API key is free to register and has no usage limits.
About the source of the bill data, Eric says:
it’s built on the github.com/unitedstates work that GovTrack and Sunlight and others created, which ultimately comes from THOMAS.
there’s a mix of other (documented) official sources too. One of the API’s purposes is to connect and de-silo information.
For more details, please see the Sunlight Congress API site.
For more information on the github.com/unitedstates repository, which was co-developed by Eric, Dr. Joshua Tauberer of GovTrack, and Derek Willis of the New York Times, please see the post entitled New Congressional Data Available for Free Bulk Download: Bill Data 1973- , Members 1789-
Two new resources provide metadata describing U.S. state legal resources available on the Web:
- 2011-2012 Preliminary Analysis of AALL’s State Legal Inventories
- [The American Association of Law Libraries' (AALL’s)] Digital Access to Legal Information Committee and Government Relations Office analyzed 6 primary online legal resources [Administrative Code, Administrative Register, Statutes, Session Laws, High Court Opinions and Appellate Court opinions] included in AALL’s state legal inventories to answer the following questions about each title:
- Is it official?
- Is it authenticated?
- It is preserved?
- Is permanent public access mandated by statute?
- Is there a copyright assertion or other use restriction?
- [...] whether the state is employing universal citation
- [whether the state has] introduced or enacted the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA)
- The Analysis and the data linked from it are not subject to copyright, according to Sarah Glassmeyer.
- State Regulations Online
- This table has been created by the Sunlight Foundation (click here for a description of the table). For each state, the table lists whether the regulations are readable in a Web browser; whether the regulations can be downloaded in bulk; and information about the laws governing online availability of regulations.
Tom Bruce of the Legal Information Institute; Daniel Schuman, Eric Mill, and John Wonderlich, all of the Sunlight Foundation; and Dr. Joshua Tauberer of GovTrack and POPVOX, have posted a new report entitled On Public Access to Legislative Information: Recommendations to the Bulk Data Task Force (2012).
The report “provides a roadmap” that the U.S. Congress’s Bulk Data Task Force can use “to implement” free public “bulk access to” the THOMAS database of U.S. federal legislative information.
The report is a product of the effort — known as #freeTHOMAS — to provide free online public access in bulk to THOMAS.
For more information, please see Daniel’s post entitled How to #FreeTHOMAS: A report on implementing bulk access.
In this post Mr. Schuman decries the unexplained 14-month delay in making the current version of The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (also known as The Constitution Annotated or CONAN) — Congress’s official treatise on U.S. constitutional law — publicly available on the Web, free of charge, in XML.
A PDF version of The Constitution Annotated is published on the U.S. Government Printing Office’s FDsys Website, but this version is disfavored because (a) the PDF format is unsuited to information reuse, and (b) the FDsys version is very difficult to process because it consists of a 2002 base volume plus four supplements, each of which must be consulted separately. By contrast, the “master version” of The Constitution Annotated is in XML format, and is said to be current and integrated in a single edition without supplements.
In his post Mr. Schuman offers numerous reasons — including reducing Congressional printing costs, increasing the public’s knowledge of U.S. constitutional law, and fostering innovation — for publishing The Constitution Annotated in XML on the free Web. Mr. Schuman refers to additional arguments expressed in a 2010 letter signed by more than 20 organizations advocating free Web access in XML to The Constitution Annotated.
For more information, please see the Sunlight Foundation’s earlier posts on this issue.
For more information on The State Decoded or Virginia Decoded, please see:
Karen Suhaka of LegiNation and Dr. Joshua Tauberer of GovTrack gave a “lightning talk” presentation entitled Legislative Transparency: A Round Up of Efforts and Results to Date (featuring this GoogleDoc spreadsheet on Open Gov Business Models) at IOGDC 2012 Virtual Conference: International Open Government Data Conference, 7 July 2012.
Part of the presentation concerned descriptions and examples of several different business models for using or reusing legislative and other government data. The legislative examples included:
- BillTrack50 (an example of the “Freemium” business model)
- GovTrack (“Advertising”)
- LexisNexis (“Pay services”)
- POPVOX (“Startup”)
- Sunlight Foundation (“Nonprofit”)
- THOMAS (“Government”)
The authors invite you to contribute additional business models and examples of use and reuse of open government data, to their GoogleDoc spreadsheet.