What’s noticeable about this evolving beta website, besides the major improvements in how people can search and understand legislative developments, is what’s still missing: public comment on the design process and computer-friendly bulk access to the underlying data.
We hope that Congress will now deeply engage with the public on the design and specifications process and make sure that legislative information is available in ways that most encourage analysis and reuse.
It’s also worth remembering what the Library of Congress said in 1996 as it considered what should be included in its legislative information system:
To be most useful to Members of Congress, the legislative information system must provide access to a wide range of current and historical information, including existing statutes, support agency analyses, academic studies, court decisions, budget and financial data, regulations and executive branch policies, public and private sector analyses, lobby group position papers, and newspaper reports from local, national, and international sources.
We will have more to say as we dig deeper into the website. The Library of Congress’ news release is below.