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 »
SANS PROOF
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
2 days ago
UPDATE
NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING SOON
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
2 days ago
UPDATE
“WE’RE CHANGING IT”
Trump Rails On Obamacare
2 days ago
UPDATE

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

FAKE NEWS
Trump Goes After The Media
2 days ago
UPDATE

Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."

FBI TURNED DOWN REQUEST
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

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