Earlier this year, Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor wrote a letter to the Clerk of the House, asking that all House stakeholders work together on publicly-releasing the House's legislative data. Today, the House Administration Committee adopted new data transparency standards that represent a watershed moment in the structural transparency of the United States House of Representatives. Chairman Dan Lungren announced that the new standards will make, "all House bills, resolutions, and legislative documents ... available in XML in one centralized location."
Even the vote itself was announced via tweet:
House Administration Adopts New Posting Standards for House Documents 1.usa.gov/stZwVV— CHA Republicans (@HouseAdmnGOP) December 16, 2011
Legislative documents include all bills, resolutions, amendments, and conference reports to be considered by the House, as well as votes, meeting notices, and other committee documents. These new standards will take effect on January 1, 2012, and will be hosted on one centralized website maintained by the Clerk of the House. Click here for a full listing of the standards from the House Administration Committee.
As noted by Don Seymour on the Speaker's blog, the Sunlight Foundation called this "a tremendous step." As TechPresident explained, "Making the data available in machine-readable format allows much quicker and better public access to legislation, and can be interpreted and presented in a more useful manner through apps on the web and on mobile devices.”
The Committee on House Administration should be commended for their excellent work; their decision today has made the House a stronger institution.
Our new House Majority remains dedicated to modernizing our country's legislative institutions, and to ensuring that we continually improve the transparency of the legislative process.