TRACK STATE LEGISLATURES’ WORK WITH THE ‘OPEN STATES’ MOBILE APP

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Learn more about your state capital and lawmakers this Sunshine Week
 
March 15, 2012 (Washington, DC) --A new mobile app from the Sunlight Foundation brings the inner-workings of the state legislature to your phone with Open States. Whether your Capitol is just across town, over the river or 500 miles down the highway, lawmakers are working every day to represent you and your interests.

Designed for both the iPhone and iPad, the free Open States app provides up-to-date information on legislation being considered and how to contact legislators, campaign finance and voting records, plus news happening in your state. The app launches with legislative data from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Open States is available for download in the App Store.

With Open States you can:

  • Identify your state representatives, find their contact information and explore district geography with Google Maps.
  • See voting records, bill sponsorships, committee assignments and campaign finance information for all elected representatives.
  • Follow any state bill on its way to becoming a law, from introduction through committee hearings, floor votes, passage and signing by the governor.
  • Read the latest policy news affecting your state from Stateline.org, an online publication of the Pew Center on the States.
“Citizens nationwide can now easily watchdog their state legislators right at their fingertips. In the past, this public information was often hard to find thanks to antiquated state websites,” said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation. “An engaged community is key to creating greater awareness on the importance of transparency in state and local government and infusing greater trust in our elected officials.”

Sunlight Labs developed the app with support from the Minnesota Historical Society, and it runs on Sunlight Labs’ Open States API. Supported in part by the work of volunteers, the Open States Project collects and scrapes legislative data from state legislatures across the country and makes it available online in a unified, reliable, developer-friendly format. Learn more online at the Sunlight Labs blog.

Like the app, the Open States API is open source. NPR’s StateImpact project is already using the API to add legislative information to their online reporting, including in Ohio and Idaho. Recently, The Chicago Tribuneused it to analyze the Illinois Pension Code as part of an in-depth investigation.

Sunlight previously developed other mobile apps for monitoring lawmakers: Congress for Android and Windowsphones and Real Time Congress for iPhone, as well as Sunlight Health which helps people make more informed decisions about medical care.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit http://SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including http://PoliticalPartyTime.org and http://influenceexplorer.com. 


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