Open States in 2018 and Beyond

Open States will soon enter its tenth year as a project and second year as an independent entity. We wanted to take some time to reflect, and announce some changes that we’ll be making in 2018.

We’re quite proud of all we accomplished in 2017. We focused on migrating the project to new & improved infrastructure, new data quality tools as part of our Google Summer of Code participation, and building relationships that will hopefully ensure Open States’ sustainability well into the future. It is also worth noting as always that we couldn’t have done this without the support of our wonderful volunteers and donors.

Going into 2018 we’re going to be making a couple of major changes:

  • We’ll be rolling out a new & improved with a refreshed design. This design will also be responsive, allowing the site to look just as good on a mobile device as it does in a browser.

  • The new Open States API will be released in early 2018. This API will solve a lot of long-standing issues and feature requests, and be a place for us to expand Open States’ data offerings. Not to fear though, API v1 will continue to exist long enough to give people ample time to migrate away from it. Stay tuned for more details including an early preview of the new API.

  • Pre-2017 data is going into the deep-freeze. Migrating this data to the new infrastructure in a clean way would be fairly tricky and quite time consuming. Judging by current usage, most people are not interested in web or API-driven access to this data so we are planning for the new site & API to start fresh w/ 2017 data. This was a difficult decision and we’re open to hearing feedback on this, but given our current resources we feel it is the right tradeoff to make. We of course will make sure that all old data remains available in bulk downloads.

  • **We are going to stop supporting the “events” data that we collect for some states. **This was a difficult decision as well, but one we feel we need to make for the good of the project. This data isn’t widely used yet can be as difficult/expensive to collect as other data. We’d love to revisit this in the future, but in order to focus our limited resources where they’ll make the most different we’ve made the decision to turn off the remaining event scrapers. Events will not be featured in the new or API v2 when they launch next year.

We’re excited about these changes and what they’ll enable us to do going forward. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us as we want to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Also as the year winds down please don’t forget to consider donating to Open States. We couldn’t do this without community support.

We look forward to 2018 being a great year for Open States!