Your One-Stop Shop for Visualizing the Legislative Process

Prepare to be overwhelmed.

The state of lawmaking at press time.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Add to Briefcase
Marina Koren
April 29, 2014, 9:46 a.m.

In 1975, an an­im­ated, talk­ing scroll taught kids how a bill be­comes a law.

These days, teach­ing meth­ods are a little bit more ad­vanced. Take this free, new stun­ning visu­al­iz­a­tion tool from re­search­ers at the Uni­versity of Wash­ing­ton’s Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Polit­ics and Pub­lic Policy, which uses big data to show dec­ades of the law­mak­ing pro­cess in ac­tion.

The tool, called Le­gis­lat­ive Ex­plorer, al­lows users to track the le­gis­lat­ive move­ments of more than 250,000 con­gres­sion­al bills and res­ol­u­tions in­tro­duced from 1973 to the present.

“Any­one can use Le­gis­lat­ive Ex­plorer to ob­serve large scale pat­terns and trends in con­gres­sion­al law­mak­ing without ad­vanced meth­od­o­lo­gic­al train­ing,” the web­site ex­plains. “In ad­di­tion, any­one can dive deep­er in­to the data to fur­ther ex­plore a pat­tern they’ve de­tec­ted, to learn about the activ­it­ies of an in­di­vidu­al law­maker, or to fol­low the pro­gress of a spe­cif­ic bill.”

And, boy, is there a lot of data. Users can sift through it with a vari­ety of fil­ters: a spe­cif­ic Con­gress, sen­at­or, or rep­res­ent­at­ive, polit­ic­al party, top­ic, com­mit­tee, spon­sor, and more. You can also search for a bill by name and see where it died — or when it reached the pres­id­ent’s desk. Once you’ve picked a fil­ter, hit the “play” but­ton at the top left of the page and watch the ma­gic hap­pen (or not).

Each particle rep­res­ents a bill or res­ol­u­tion, and their col­ors cor­res­pond to the party and cham­ber of the le­gis­la­tion, or to its spon­sor. Red in­dic­ates Re­pub­lic­an, blue Demo­crat, and yel­low in­de­pend­ent. Mouse over a dot to see more in­form­a­tion about the bill. Hov­er over the people-shaped mark­ers on the left- and right-hand sides to see names of Con­gress mem­bers, their ideo­logy score, and their state. A handy track­er at the bot­tom of the page tal­lies the num­ber of total bills for a Con­gress at a giv­en point in time.

Long story short: You may want to watch this video tu­tori­al be­fore diving in.

At the time of this writ­ing, 6,338 bills or res­ol­u­tions have been in­tro­duced dur­ing the 113th Con­gress — 2,151 in the Sen­ate and 4,187 in the House. Eighty-four of them, or about 1 per­cent, have be­come law.

h/t Nath­an Yau

What We're Following See More »
GOVERNMENT WARNING ALLIES, COMPANIES
Iran Prepping Cyberattacks on U.S.
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and on private companies, and the U.S. is warning allies, hardening its defenses and weighing a counterattack, say multiple senior U.S. officials. Despite Iran having positioned cyber weapons to carry out attacks, there is no suggestion an offensive operation is imminent, according to the officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak."

Source:
ALLOW TRUMP DEAL TO STAND
Congress Drop New ZTE Sanctions From Defense Bill
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Negotiators from the Senate and House of Representatives late Thursday agreed to abandon efforts to reinstate harsher sanctions" against Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. "Draft language advanced in the House earlier this year focused on a procurement ban for ZTE products, whereas the Senate approved language that would reinstate the sales ban for U.S. companies to sell to ZTE." The change is a major win for President Trump, who has had exempted the company from earlier sanctions as part of broader trade negotiations with China.

Source:
CITY HOSTED 2012 DNC
RNC Officially Awards 2020 Convention to Charlotte
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
LORDY, THERE ARE TAPES
Cohen Secretly Recorded Trump Discussing Hush Money Payment
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments" to former Playboy model Karen McDougal "who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump." The FBI seized the recording during an April raid of Cohens office. "The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election," which may violate federal campaign finance laws. Days before the election, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks denied any knowledge of the payment, and said that the allegations were "totally untrue."

Source:
IN NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED, NO LESS
Rep. Hurd Says Trump Being Manipulated by Putin
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Conservative Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, a former CIA agent, says in a New York Times op-ed this morning that Russian intelligence is "manipulating" President Trump. "The leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad," he writes.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login