Big Changes Ahead for

Coming in July: Open States is Plural! Making democracy more accessible and transparent is at the core of our mission. We are committed to breaking down barriers and making legislative tracking and analysis available to all. You’ve been able to research bills and subscribe to updates about bills on for years - it’s something we’re very proud of. In early July, we are relaunching these tools under the Plural brand with a more powerful set of features. [Read More]

Summit 2023 Wrap-up

Summit 2023 Wrap-Up Thanks for everyone who attended our 2023 Summit, either virtually or in-person in Chicago! I want to provide a quick wrap-up for anyone who missed it. Watch the talks and tutorials We recorded our virtual and hybrid sessions so that you can catch up! Check out our Summit playlist on YouTube which includes: Introduction to Open States How people are using our data, including highlighted users doing academic research, startup innovation, and data integration with a big advocacy organization Future of Open States: vision and roadmap Developer team question and answer session How to write a web scraper tutorial How to access and use our data for quantitative analysis tutorial Special guest talk on voter turnout and peer-to-peer messaging Matrix/Element chat space We debuted a trial run of using Matrix/Element to replace Slack as our chat space. [Read More]

Project Roadmap for 2023

Open States Roadmap Update - 2023 Our recent Summit featured a talk on the future of Open States. I encourage you to watch the talk and questions! But we also want to provide a written update to the roadmap and some FAQ about changes that are coming down the pipe for the project. Here’s the tl;dr: The data we provide here will remain free We are committed to growing that open data core, for example adding legislative data from jurisdictions in Africa! [Read More]

December 2022 Update

Open States Summit See you in Chicago (or on Zoom) in January! Please RSVP now to participate in the 2023 Open States Summit, Jan 12-14! This is an expansion of the summit we held last year. We’ll have another day of virtual talks about the project, and this time we’ve added two days of hackathon sessions! Here’s the agenda: Thursday, January 12: Livestream talks and discussion about the project and folks using our data (11am - 4pm US central) Introduction to Open States Future of the Project Highlight projects and people using Open States data Q&A with developers Friday, January 13: Hackathon - hybrid in-person and remote (10am to 6pm central) Saturday, January 14: Hackathon - hybrid in-person and remote (10am to 6pm central) We’ll be in-person in Chicago, hosted at the University of Chicago by the Harris School’s Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) Program. [Read More]

August 2022 Update

Open States at Netroots 2022 Want to chat about Open States or public policy work with the team maintaining it? Come meet the Civic Eagle team at Netroots Nation 2022! We’ll be presenting two events: Lessons Learned Working in Coalitions Since Everything’s Gone Digital, a panel discussion on Thursday, August 18th from 2:30-3:30 pm Rooftop Vibes with special guest Congresswoman Ilan Omar and featuring music by Lizzo’s DJ Sophia Eris on Friday, August 19th from 5-7:30 PM RSVP 2022 Sessions by the Numbers Most regular sessions have adjourned, but we’ve still got some special sessions currently meeting or coming up. [Read More]

Moving On & Moving Forward

Moving On I’m writing today to announce that I am stepping down as Open States project lead, and from my role as Director of Public Data at Civic Eagle. I have decided I want to explore other career goals, and that it is the right time for me to move on, both for myself and for the project’s future. It was thirteen years ago this month that Open States was born. [Read More]

Open States Virtual Summit 2021

Last week we had the Open States Virtual Summit; if you were able to join thank you so much for making this first ever virtual summit such a success! If you weren’t able to join, here’s what you missed: Future of Open States Civic Eagle Product Manager Ruby Choonoo & I walked folks through what Open States has accomplished in 2021, and what we’re hoping to do in 2022. Future of Open States Slides [Read More]

October 2021 Update

Open States Virtual Summit Exciting news! We’re in the early phases of planning a meeting where Open States' contributors and users can come together to discuss the project. We’re hoping to get something together for this winter, and if you’re reading this we could use your feedback on if this is something you’d be interested in attending. Please fill out our survey and let us know what you’d hope to get out of an event. [Read More]

Tips for web scraping from a web scraping intern

Michelle Orden is a rising second year Masters of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) student at the University of Chicago. She joined Civic Eagle this summer as a Python Engineering Intern. In this role, Michelle focused on converting existing people scrapers to use the spatula library. She also contributed to the scraping of committee data. After writing 30+ scrapers, here are some tips she learned along the way. [Read More]

June 2021 Update

Most sessions have ended, and we’re heading into the summer, but that doesn’t mean that the work has slowed down. As detailed earlier this year, our 2021 focus is on data improvements across the board, and for the past few months we’ve been hard at work expanding Open States' data offerings with new federal data support & the addition of committee data. Team Open States Expands This expanded focus is largely possible due to our team growing. [Read More]