Denver, CO AND Washington, DC (PRWEB) June 19, 2012
In a significant step toward greater government transparency, two organizations focused on publishing government data have joined forces to present major new comprehensive, user friendly, publicly accessible databases of state and federal bills. LegiNation, creator of the BillTrack50 solution to track state bills will exchange information with open government technology company Civic Impulse, developer of the federal legislative monitoring tool GovTrack. The aim of the data exchange is to provide individuals, advocacy groups, businesses and legislative professionals with access to information to better engage with government.
Joshua Tauberer is president of Civic Impulse and the author of Open Government Data: The Book which frames the open government data movement as the application of Big Data to civics. Mr. Tauberer said the partnership with LegiNation creates an important source of government data and presents citizens with the opportunity for increased participation in and influence of government.
“Citizens are far more savvy about their government and more interested in participating in it than most people realize. Apathy is a myth. But what they need are better tools to participate effectively and efficiently,” Mr. Tauberer contends.
Federal and state bills can be accessed on the http://www.billtrack50.com and http://www.govtrack.us websites for free, and a professional version allowing for advanced tracking and sharing is available through BillTrack50. The sites present bill text, status, and summaries in a format easily located by Google-like word search or by using more exact information like legislator names or bill numbers. Tools to stay informed of legislative activity are also provided.
Karen Suhaka, president of LegiNation said the combined data will present a more accurate picture of the political landscape across the country, making it is easier to identify state and federal policy trends. The partners also hope to improve the ability to analyze how ideas spread in government.
“People who are frustrated with Congress must look at the possibility of successful engagement at the state level. Making this data available to the public and to cost-conscious legislative professionals encourages everyone, not just moneyed interests, to make their voice heard in government,” Ms. Suhaka said. “Individuals really can engage at the state level and have an impact.”
GovTrack.us is a tool by Civic Impulse, LLC to help the public research and track the activities in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, promoting and innovating government transparency and civic education through novel uses of technology. Launched in 2004 initially as a hobby, GovTrack.us was the first website worldwide whose primary goal was to provide free and comprehensive legislative tracking for everyday citizens and to embrace Web 2.0 and open data. GovTrack.us was a 2006 Webby Award nominee and has been covered in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and it is the data provider for many other websites displaying legislative information.
LegiNation, Inc. was founded in 2011 with the goal of making state level legislation more readily available to the professionals who need it, and even more importantly to the public at large. LegiNation is building products and websites that will spark a renaissance in American politics, leveraging the Internet to create the dialog so desperately needed amongst our elected officials, legislative professionals, and everyday citizens.