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Bulk data and Legislative Information 2.0

Tim O’Reilly writes that bulk data of Congressional information may soon be a reality. Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA 15th District) an interesting rider explanatory statement the subcommittee was working on which would require the agencies that the U.S. Congress to distribute their data in bulk. No doubt this was due in no small part to the wonderful folks at the Sunlight Foundation and many other govt transparency activists. The rider explanatory statement has made it into Division G – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2009, the section that Honda’s subcommittee is working on, but not in the current text of the bill. You can track the changes of the bill with GovTrack.us bill tracker (I hope Tim is reading this because he lamented the lack of change control 🙂 ):

The money quote on the H.R.1105 appropriations Omnibus bill rider explanatory statement is this paragraph here:

*Public Access to Legislative Data* – There is support for enhancing public access to legislative documents, bill status, summary information, and other legislative data through more direct methods such as bulk data downloads and other means of no-charge digital access to legislative databases. The Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, and Government Printing Office and the appropriate entities of the House of Representatives are directed to prepare a report on the feasibility of providing advanced search capabilities. This report is to be provided to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate within 120 days of the release of Legislative Information System 2.0.

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