We’re excited to announce that over the coming days, we’ll be able to start reactivating some state scrapers to collect up-to-date legislative data.
We plan to turn on nearly a dozen states in our first round: California, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington DC. These are some of the earliest states to begin their 2017 legislative sessions, and together include over 40% of the US population. We expect to be serving current data for them no later than January 3.
After these, we’ll move our focus to a second round: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, and Wisconsin; we’ll have an eye towards serving current data for them by mid-January. And we expect all remaining states to be completed and running by mid-February at the latest.
Bringing the scrapers back up is a very significant time commitment, and this aggressive timeline wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for volunteers, with a special thanks to Tim Showers who has been an incredible help.
Successes in Funding
Open States has always relied upon the generosity and civic spirit of those in our community. Whether through contributing code, making donations, or expanding the horizons of the platform, users like you have played a crucial role in the growth and success of Open States.
And that hasn’t changed: over the past couple months, we’ve been truly humbled by the outpouring of support from you all. As of today we’re within striking distance of our initial general funding goal, with dozens of donations totaling over $6,000. Donate today and help us cross the finish line before the new year.
Beyond donations, many other individuals have come forward as well, offering their time and assistance by submitting new code, helping with organization and outreach, and discussing new partnerships.
Furthermore, we’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded $5,000 in server credits as part of the Amazon Web Services Cloud Credits for Nonprofits program. AWS has a strong record of support for open data initiatives, and we feel very fortunate to have received this support.
Combined with the 501©(3) status granted by our collaboration with the Open Media Foundation, this leaves us in a better position financially; we feel secure about paying our base costs. Our main expense, server expenditures on AWS, have been roughly $250 monthly while in read-only mode, although this will increase significantly as we turn our scrapers back on. We’ve also been discussing additional ways to improve Open States using small amounts of the funds, such as incentivizing the collection of legislator contact information not explicitly listed online.
Going forward, we’re continuing to request donations to our general support fund to help us ensure sustainability and enable us to explore other ways to improve the quality and timeliness of Open States. But in the meantime, we’d like to thank you all once more, for everything!
Our next update should be in early January, but you can always keep up to date with us: