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CONTACT: Sunlight Foundation
Liz Bartolomeo 202-742-1520 x226
‘Open States’ Connects You to any U.S. State Capitol and Lawmakers
WASHINGTON - February 14 - The Sunlight Foundation today launches OpenStates.org — a website anyone can use to discover more about lawmaking in their state. Open States is a comprehensive database of legislative information for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The website makes it easy to find state lawmakers, review their votes, search legislation and track bill progress, as well as compare legislation from state to state.
Developers at Sunlight Labs, along with dozens of civic hacker volunteers, collected and scraped legislative data from state websites across the country and made it available online in a unified, open source and reliable format. Check out the story of Open States (3-minute video).
“Every state house or senate website is different, but Open States brings them all together in one place,” said Tom Lee, Sunlight Labs Director. “We've made it easy to follow how state legislators are working to represent you and your interests. All you need to get started is your home address. Open States is also a valuable tool for tracking the propagation of model bills and lobbying groups’ ability to influence the spread of policy initiatives across state lines.”
Attend a free training webinar for Open States on Friday, Feb. 22 at 1 pm ET. Register here.
OpenStates.org is simple to use. Start by entering a U.S. address, browse a particular state or enter a term in the search box. The site provides contact information for lawmakers, a map of their district, voting records, committee assignments, campaign finance records from the National Institute on Money in State Politics and even local news articles. When researching a piece of legislation, Open States displays its status, sponsorships, break down of votes and provides the actual bill text and supporting documents. You can also search for bills with similar topics between states or view overview pages for every state.
Create a free Open States account and follow any bill, lawmaker or issue you are interested in learning more about. You can receive email alerts about your favorite topics via Sunlight’s Scout service.
The code for Open States is open source, and we offer both an API and bulk data downloads. Sunlight uses the API for our Open States iPhone and iPad app, and other notable users include NPR StateImpact and MinnPost.com.
The Sunlight Foundation received generous support from the Rita Allen Foundation, Minnesota Historical Society and Open Society Foundations to develop Open States.
The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit http://SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including http://PoliticalPartyTime.org and http://influenceexplorer.com.