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#532 Online: Research, track and analyze legislation with


Jesse Mortenson, CTO of Plural & the Open States project
Christopher Yamas, Data Engineer with Plural & Open States

The Open States project supplies accessible, open legislative information. The public has a right to know the activities of their state legislatures, yet the U.S. lacks a national standard for presenting the details of state-level legislation to the public. What results are 50+ different datasets and user interfaces that range vastly in data quality and user experience.

We’ve seen vivid examples of how public policy moves rapidly across state legislatures, whether following supreme court decisions, congressional stalemate, or social media firestorm. We’ve seen organized efforts by powerful actors to use at the state level as an advantage. Journalists, researchers, non-profits, trade associations and average individual residents all depend on our data to see what is happening, create understanding, and take action.

Through an open API, bulk data offerings, and a nontechnical browser-based user interface for researching & tracking bills, any individual or organization can access up-to-date information on legislation in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. The web scraping code that powers our data acquisition is open source, allowing anyone to contribute to the data. Join this talk to find out how we’ve survived and sustained over 13 years, and how you can use these resources!