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OpenGovernment.org: Transparency Service for U.S. State Legislative Information

OpenGovernment.org is a new transparency service for U.S. state legislative information, being developed by David Moore of the Participatory Politics Foundation and a member of our community. OpenGovernment.org is a joint effort of the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation.

(Click here for the GovLaunch announcement of OpenGovernment.org.)

For (currently) five U.S. states (California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas, and Wisconsin), OpenGovernment.org lets users:

  • identify pending legislation;
  • read versions of that legislation;
  • share copies of legislation via social media;
  • track and receive notice via RSS of changes to the legislation;
  • read news stories, blog posts, and other social media communication about legislation;
  • learn about legislators connected with legislation;
  • get information about legislators’ votes on legislation; and
  • obtain campaign finance information by industry.

OpenGovernment.org is written in Ruby on Rails, and uses data from Sunlight’s Open States Project (which offers a free, open RESTful API for legislative data and bulk downloads of that data), processed with the open source GovKit software.

OpenGovernment.org invites participation by developers. Click here for OpenGovernment‘s page for Developers, which explains the system’s architecture and offers links to code and other technical resources.

Since the Open States Project now has data for 25 U.S. states, OpenGovernment.org plans to offer data for more states in the future.

OpenGovernment.org is a notable example of the use of legal open government data — of the kind that the Law.gov project wishes to make more widely available — for purposes of increasing government transparency and public participation in government.

OpenGovernment.org was inspired by OpenCongress, which offers similar services in connection with information from the U.S. Congress.

For more information about OpenGovernment.org, visit their Website.

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