in Houston, Texas
Open States site launched by Sunlight Foundation to track legislation
Thursday, Aug 02, 2012, 11:18AM CST
By Mike Cronin
capitol

The Sunlight Foundation has launched the beta version of a new site to help voters track legislation in their respective states.

Open States currently encompasses 19 states, including Texas, and the District of Columbia. The Sunlight Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for more government transparency and accountability.

Particularly helpful is Sunlight’s easy access to bills being considered by a state legislature, a great supplement to the presentation at the Texas Legislature’s website.

Zubedah Nanfuka, a grassroots organizer with the Sunlight Foundation, listed other features of the new site:

+Every page has a list of sources in the footer that can be used for checking data against the official state website or for directly citing the state.

+The search box at the top of OpenStates.org searches across all bills and legislators; type in a name or the number of a bill you're interested in to go to the relevant detail pages.

+Bill searches will also link to other Sunlight Foundation projects, like the Scout legislative alert system and the Influence Explorer of campaign finance data.

Sunlight Foundation staff invite citizen feedback on the new site so they can improve it. To comment, go to http://openstates.org/contact/.

Besides Texas, OpenStates.org also includes data so far for Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin. The plan is to expand to all 50 states, Nanfuka said.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at@michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of the Texas Capitol by flickr user IPBrian, used via a Creative Commons license.

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