Saturday, October 1, 2011

CA Hackathon Update: Mashup of Maplight data and California Statutes

Ever wonder who is responsible for a particular law?  Often the supporters and opponents of a bill are forgotten once the bill is codified into law.

Now, however, as one of the results of the California Law Hackathon held two weeks ago, we can now get more insight into California's laws, section by section. Mike Tahani built a mashup of Maplight data and California statutes, taken from legix.info, which shows, for a given section of California's codes, the organizations that supported and opposed its enactment.  

If you're technically inclined, check it out on GitHub, here.  It is currently a command line utility, and only applies to a very, very small subset of California's codes, because we're only working with legislation passed in the last two sessions of the California legislature.  If you're less technically inclined, wait for version 2 or 3.  Mike plans to add a one-click user interface and data visualization to show the links.

The rich possibilities for open legislative data are just starting to emerge, and Mike's Maplight mashup joins the new wave of data presentation for state codes, that includes Robb Shecter's work on Oregon's and now California's statutes (weblaws.org), and Waldo Jaquith's work on Virginia and soon other states, as part of the Knight Award project, State Decoded.