Here’s an update to what’s new on GovTrack over the last few months.
- You’ll now notice little buttons throughout the site that let you add or remove trackers when you see lists of bills, rather than having to click through to the individual bills.
- The bill search page now lets you search bills by references (i.e. citations) to the United States Code.
- You can now search GovTrack for historical Members of Congress and can browse Members of Congress by year.
- We’ve improved the way we notice changes to bill status so that the automatic processes that make GovTrack go keep the site better up to made.
- The images that go along with roll call votes have been made to look just a bit nicer.
- The congressional district maps can now be expanded into a full screen mode.
- When you are tracking individual bills, you’ll now get updates when cosponsorship changes.
- Logging into GovTrack was totally broken if you entered your email address with any capital letters. This is fixed now. Oops.
For developers reusing GovTrack data for other projects:
- We’ve now got MODS files for bill text from the GPO, which, among other things, includes the dates bill texts were published (something annoyingly missing up till now).
- I’ve been filling in the “class” field for Senators. This determines which election cycles each senator is in, and when one senator replaces another you should trace it back through the same “class”. I haven’t checked it carefully for accuracy yet. Additionally, we now have two people.xml files, one for current Members of Congress and one for the historical data that has everyone that has ever served in Congress.
- Bill XML files now have some new experimental status codes that more precisely reflect where a bill is in the legislative process.