One bill at a time

MAPLight.org and the California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) filed a lawsuit (pdf, 5.3MB/71pp) December 3 against the Office of Legislative Counsel of California for violating California's open records law (pdf, 67pp) by denying access to California's computer database for tracking thousands of votes and pieces of legislation. Currently the Office of Legislative Counsel provides California legislative information on the state's official website. MAPLight.org and CFAC assert:
Although the public currently can access this info one bill at a time through the state’s official website, that does not allow computer-assisted analysis of the data...

What MAPLight.org is requesting is copies of the database records used to create the website. These database records would allow searching for how a member votes, analysis of trends in voting and in bill topics, analysis of patterns of campaign contributions and votes to track special-interest influence, and many more valuable civic uses.
Reported in a Sacramento Bee article:
Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine refused the request, asserting in a letter to MAPLight.org in July that the California Public Records Act "does not require disclosure of the database itself."
Press release by MAPLight.org and CFAC.

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Blogger Doug said...


Not having the database in the form you want it need not be a problem if you are persistent. I was able to parse the Hawaii records to create voting records of each legislator and I put it on the internet for downloading.

You'd think some geek in CA could do the same...

Blogger Doug said...

Hmmm. I thought my link would be live up there...

Click here for those voting data details.


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