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A Way To Fully Connect Yourself With The Local Political Process

All politics is local, but it’s hard to find out what’s happening on the state level around the country, which is where the real governing is done. The Sunlight Foundation’s Open States gives you an insight into state legislatures around the country.

A Way To Fully Connect Yourself With The Local Political Process
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Ever wonder what campaign contributions look like among Delaware’s state representatives? Or which bills are currently on the floor of the Alabama senate? A new media project called Open States by the Sunlight Foundation has the answers, by aggregating troves of data from all 50 states’ legislative bodies, sorting it, and styling it within one easy-to-use website and app.

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The service lets users pinpoint their local representation, track and receive alerts about a bill from the moment it’s introduced to when the governor signs it into law (or vetoes it), read the full text of new bills, see which congress people are sponsoring them, and examine their local representatives’ legislative history.

While much of this data is available elsewhere, the Open States project is probably the first to bring so much of it together and make it really easy, possibly even fun, to use. Sunlight Foundation has made the Open States data available via an API and bulk download to let third parties build apps around it.

You can check out a tutorial of how it works here.

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About the author

Zak Stone is a Los Angeles-based writer and a contributing editor of Playboy Digital. His writing has appeared in TheAtlantic.com, NYMag.com, Los Angeles, The Utne Reader, GOOD, and elsewhere. Visit his personal website here.

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