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]

March 2021 Update

The first 3 months of 2021 have flown by, which means it is time for our quarterly update! As mentioned in the end-of-2020 update the big focus this year will be on data improvements across the board. We also have some exciting developments for the Open States community as we strive to make the project more accessible to developers and potential contributors. Data Updates New Sessions The focus of the first quarter tends to be on new session updates. [Read More]

Open States Joins Civic Eagle

This post and a companion also appear on the Civic Eagle blog: Open States Joins Civic Eagle Civic Eagle Acquires Open States and Invests in the Future of Civic Data The project that’s become Open States began back in 2009 while I was an employee at Sunlight Foundation. There was great enthusiasm for civic tech at this time, but not much direction for developers interested in getting involved. How could we rally the community and concentrate this surge of energy toward places where it had the best chance to create meaningful change? [Read More]

December 2020 Update

In 2020 we put out our most ambitious roadmap in a long time. It included launching bill tracking, bulk data, and API improvements. Thanks to the funding we received, we launched all of the major features we had planned, and then some. We also wound up putting out some surprises we hadn’t planned on, like our COVID-19 legislation tracking, new municipal data, and our new shiny API v3, which is already seeing great adoption! [Read More]

Open States API v3 & 2021 Plans

API v3 is here! Back in September, I announced the beta of Open States API v3 and as of today it is moving from beta status to fully supported. Since the initial release there have been quite a few updates, all noted in the changelog. While API v3 will continue to improve, it has been moved to production servers, backwards-incompatible changes will be kept to a minimum and announced well in advance, and rate limits are a bit higher than they were during the beta accordingly. [Read More]

Open States API v3 Beta

The original Open States API was released ten years ago this fall, and we consider it the most important part of the project after the scrapers. While we released the GraphQL API several years ago, we found that the ease of use of API v1 meant that quite a few (nearly 40%) of API users stuck with API v1, so it has long been on the wishlist to have a successor that was closer to a 1:1 replacement for the API v1 methods that so many projects and organizations depend upon. [Read More]