Our First Month

It’s been just over a month since we took over ownership of Open States and we wanted to give you an update on how things are going.

First off, we’d like to thank you all for your contributions to our ongoing General Support Fundraiser; over the past month, we’ve received dozens of donations totaling over $4,000! This is incredible, and we’ll be putting together a donor’s page by the end of the year thanking everyone who publicly supported the mission of Open States.

Over 60 of you have also signed up as potential volunteers. Due to a busier-than-expected November we haven’t yet gotten to organize a hackathon, but stay tuned on that front!

One other exciting piece of news: we have signed a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Open Media Foundation. Fiscal sponsorship is less about money than it sounds; essentially, it means that Open States now enjoys the benefits of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status under OMF’s umbrella, while still remaining a fully-independent organization. Furthermore, OMF has generously agreed to provide us this service for free for our first year.

The Open Media Foundation is a fantastic organization with an emphasis on helping underserved communities shape public awareness and public policy. They are also long-time supporters and consumers of Open States, most recently with their Knight Prototype Fund project, the She Said He Said Project, which links Open States data with legislator audio & video. We look forward to working with OMF to identify joint fundraising opportunities & collaboration between their legislative initiatives and ours.

We spent most of this month focused on infrastructure changes and bugfixes. In an effort to keep costs as low as possible, we hunted down a couple of performance bugs that were plaguing Open States, allowing us to dramatically lower our operational costs while we’re in read-only mode; due to this work, our current setup only cost us $228 this month. Although these costs will rise when the site and scrapers resume normal operation, we’ll always be working to spend your donations wisely as possible.

Before & After

average response times dropped from 550ms to 80msaverage response times dropped from 550ms to 80ms

We’ve also begun the work of auditing the status of each state’s scrapers, and will be publishing updates soon on where they stand, and when we expect the first states to come back online. Our next update, before the end of the year, should accompany the first batch of scrapers being brought back online, and a rough schedule of when we hope to add the remaining data from 2017 sessions.

Stay In Touch!

We’ll continue posting regular updates here, but you can also keep up with us:

Originally published at blog.openstates.org.