August 10, 2009
OpenCongress Relaunched with New Design and Features
OpenCongress recently completed a design re-do with a number of great new features. From their "what's new" announcement:
Contact Congress -- for the first time, from any page on OpenCongress, you're just one click away from sending an email to your senator or representative. For example, if you're reading about the major health care reform bill in the House (H.R. 3200), and you decide that you want your Representative to support or oppose it, just click the "Write Your Rep." button in the right-hand sidebar and a handy email form will pop up for your communication. Example at www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/show
Watchdog -- now, you have direct access to how your Members of Congress' votes on bills compare to your own personal votes, "aye" or "nay," -- plus, how they compare to what constituents in your state and district support and oppose. Login to your free "My OpenCongress" account (or create one) and click the "Watchdog" button in your profile to see an extensive side-by-side comparison, then hold your elected officials accountable for their votes. Go to your My OpenCongress account at www.opencongress.org/login
Social Tracking - we've layered in more helpful ways to find the things in Congress that are important to you. On the page of any bill, issue, or Member of Congress, see what other users tracking that item are also tracking, as well as what they are supporting and opposing. It works like "Six Degrees of OpenCongress" - if you care about a certain bill in Congress, you can explore the unique trail of user-generated info and find related bills, votes, and issues of interest.
More Data - we've boosted the level of detail on campaign contributions for lawmakers and bills from OpenSecrets and MAPLight, congressional scorecards from issue-based organizations on the OpenCongress Wiki, and more. Click the "money trail" tab on any bill, senator or representative page for details on which companies are funding their campaigns. Also, with the OpenCongress API, all of the uniquely-aggregated data about Congress and valuable user-generated content on the site is now freely available for web programmers to remix and share on their own websites.
RaceTracker - we announced this last month, but since then hundreds of people have added their knowledge and helped to make this into an incredible one-stop resource for every 2010 Senate and House race. RaceTracker is a crowd-sourced project on the OpenCongress Wiki that allows individuals to add information about who's running for office in their district and state, check out your local area and add what you know. Go to www.opencongress.org/wiki/Project:RaceTracker
A great resource just got much better. With these new features, OpenCongress is, if it wasn't already, the best web destination for monitoring federal legistration. [JH]
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