In accordance with House rules and an initiative led by Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Administration Committee today adopted new data transparency standards that will make “all House bills, resolutions and legislative documents … available in XML in one centralized location,” said Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA).
The new standards take effect on January 1, 2012, and require all House legislative documents be published electronically in an open, searchable format (like XML) and on one centralized website that will be maintained by the Clerk of the House. These 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. See the full list here. Here is the Tweet announcing the vote:
House Administration Adopts New Posting Standards for House Documents 1.usa.gov/stZwVV— CHA Republicans (@HouseAdmnGOP) December 16, 2011
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 Clerk of the House, House Rules Committee, and others have already made great strides this year in opening up the legislative activity of the House to the public. And Sunlight notes that “[t]he House will also store video of hearings and markups.” Today’s move builds on those efforts – and on the Pledge to America “to ensure transparency and accountability in Congress.”
Read the letter from Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor on data standards here. And stay tuned for more information as the new majority continues working to keep its pledge to make Congress more open and accountable to the American people.