The Open House Project from The Sunlight Foundation

Entries from September 2007

Unbelievable: Texas House, Quit Snitching

September 30th, 2007 · 1 Comment

This is pretty amazing:

Despite passing rules that forbid mulitple voting, it appears that the practice is standard in the Texas state legislature, to the point of absurdity.
To me, this is an excellent demonstration of the difficulty legislative bodies have in policing themselves. The problem comes in the wording of different kinds of rules. [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

Putting his money where his mouth is

September 28th, 2007 · No Comments

Given my last post lamenting on the costs of running a campaign, I’m really happy to read that Edwards is accepting public financing [NYTimes.com] for the primaries, in return for a spending cap around $50 million.
Now, I HATE reporting that fails to put numbers in perspective. Is $50 million a lot or a little? The [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

Benefits of Structured Data (Staffers, check this out)

September 27th, 2007 · 1 Comment

We came across Rep. Tom Reynolds’ (NY-26) google map of his earmarks a little while ago, and it appears that someone really went above and beyond in showing info about the district. Frankly, I’m completely unfamiliar with the issues or politics of this district, and I don’t even know if this is a comprehensive [...]

Tags: House of Representatives · Member Web Sites · OpenHouse · committees · government websites · tom reynolds

Feed Blending: Sunlight and Congress

September 27th, 2007 · No Comments

I enjoy modifying structures responsible for the form our awareness takes, that’s one of the reasons I was initially drawn to examine the availability of public information. In making the transition to working full time on transparency advocacy, I spent a great deal of time restructuring my information consumption habits. Politics and government [...]

Tags: OpenHouse · RSS · web 2.0

Officially Unofficial: State Department Blog Guidelines

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

Governmental communications demand scrutiny. Not just from citizens demanding accountability, but also from within any specific department or office. Coordinating communications can be a tricky task, especially within a large operation, so it isn’t surprising that significant time and attention are given to editing, clarifying, planning, and releasing press statements and official correspondence.
What [...]

Tags: OpenHouse · executive · government websites

CRS Tuesday: SCHIP Edition

September 25th, 2007 · No Comments

In light of the current debate over SCHIP (and President Bush’s veto threat), here are two recently released CRS reports on the State Childrens’ Health Insurance Program legislation.
This report, released August 14th, is specifically about H.R. 3162.
The other document is a CRS report from August 7th on Medicaid, SCHIP, and FY2008 issues.
Documents from OpenCRS.com, as [...]

Tags: CRS reports · House of Representatives · OpenHouse · open crs

Speech or Debate Clause II: Staff Confidently Engaging

September 22nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

A few days ago, I wrote a post about the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.
My basic point was that members of Congress have certain privileges granted by the Constitution, giving them freedom from legal action relating to their legislative duties. Congress members aren’t above the law, so only legislative acts qualify as [...]

Tags: Congress · House of Representatives · OpenHouse · committees · government websites · legal research · speech or debate

Sleep deprivation hurting Congress?

September 21st, 2007 · No Comments

Last night (well, for me, the rerun just now) on the Daily Show, guest Bill Clinton claimed that sleep deprivation is rampant in Congress, due to Members running back and forth between D.C. and their home states for fund raising, and that it is responsible for some of the edginess in Congress.
Maybe this is an [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

Another 72-hours-type bill that I missed (that makes three)

September 17th, 2007 · No Comments

I just stumbled on H. Res. 63, introduced back in January, whose main provision is:
no bill, joint resolution, conference report, or amendment between the Houses shall be voted on by the House unless the text of that measure has been available to all Members and their staffs in both printed and electronic format for at [...]

Tags: Congress · House of Representatives · OpenHouse

The Speech and Debate Clause: Can Congress Confidently Serve the Public Online?

September 16th, 2007 · 2 Comments

The ease of Internet publishing is increasing our expectations that lawmakers and congressional support agencies serve as a source for timely legislative information.
As our expectations increase, congressional information will flourish only if the standards governing its dissemination are clearly articulated. Congress and its appendages will only share information in the broad way an digitally [...]

Tags: OpenHouse