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Tag Archive: Federal Register

Integrating the US’ Documents

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A few weeks ago, we integrated the full text of federal bills and regulations into our alert system, [Scout](https://scout.sunlightfoundation.com). Now, if you visit [CISPA](https://scout.sunlightfoundation.com/item/bill/hr624-113) or a fascinating [cotton rule](https://scout.sunlightfoundation.com/item/regulation/2013-10114), you'll see the original document - nicely formatted, but also well-integrated into Scout's layout. There are a lot of good reasons to integrate the text this way: we want you to see why we alerted you to a document without having to jump off-site, and without clunky iframes. As importantly, we wanted to do this in a way that would be easily reusable by other projects and people. So we **built a tool called [us-documents](https://github.com/unitedstates/documents)** that makes it possible for anyone to do this with federal bills and regulations. It's [available as a Ruby gem](https://rubygems.org/gems/us-documents), and comes with a [command line tool](https://github.com/unitedstates/documents#usage) so that you can use it with Python, Node, or any other language. It lives inside the [unitedstates project](https://github.com/unitedstates) at [unitedstates/documents](https://github.com/unitedstates/documents), and is entirely public domain.

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How to Count Regulations: A Primer for Regulatory Research

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Data and Research Intern Alex Engler wrote this post. The regulatory process is a politically charged arena, where the perception of over-regulating, or not regulating enough, can become a political liability.  Whether it’s Tom Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce warning of the oncoming “tsunami” of regulations from President Obama, or the National Resource Defense Council striking at the Bush administration for an “assault on our clean air protections,” there can be no doubt that the perceived level of regulation matters. However, one should look skeptically towards assertions about the degree of rulemaking, especially when those assertions include specific numbers.  These claims are often based on research that can be structured so as to intentionally mislead. And beyond the political motivation in how one measures regulatory action, there are also many opportunities for genuine methodological error.

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