Good news for state politics geeks. OpenGovernment.org yesterday launched in beta. It’s a site that scrapes data from state legislatures — bills, campaign finance, people and issues — and puts it all in one accessible spot. And lucky for us, they started with Wisconsin (plus Texas, California, Louisiana and Maryland).
There you can leaf through bills (example: a resolution to commend UW-Whitewater’s football team for winning). Or you can see which sectors, industries or businesses have spent the most money on Wisconsin politicians. Or keep up on what people are tweeting about your legislator.
OpenGovernment.org is a joint project of the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation, the same folks who put together OpenCongress.org. Project director David Moore says his team is planning to put up sites for all 50 states.
A work in progress, OpenGovernment.org is not without bugs (and welcomes help). But we’ll be watching closely how it develops, because the huge breadth of information the site can pull has great potential. We quote:
- Official state government data from the Open States Project
- News and blog coverage via Google News and Blog Search
- Campaign contribution data from FollowTheMoney.org, via TransparencyData
- Issue group ratings and legislator contact information from Project VoteSmart
- Social media mentions from the Twitter API
- Legislator biographies from Wikipedia
- Video – to be crowdsourced for each state on Miro Community.
- U.S. Congressional data from THOMAS via our data partner GovTrack and the OpenCongress API.
- Geographic maps of districts from the U.S. Census Bureau
The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.