New Open Data Partnership Improves Government Transparency at State and Federal Levels
GovTrack and LegiNation trade legislative data and help citizens engage with government
DENVER and WASHINGTON – June 18, 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.
Federal and state bills can be accessed on the
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.