Outcome of 2007 legislation.

Based only on non-commendation votes. Data from Richmond Sunlight, based on a query excluding all bills with “commend” or “celebrating” in the catch line.

It will be interesting to see what percentage of those continued bills are killed later on this year. Anecdotally, it looked like most of the bills continued from 2006 were killed just prior to this year’s session.

I have got to read Edward Tufte’s trilogy o’ data (“The Visual Display of Quantitative Information,” “Envisioning Information,” and “Visual Explanations”) so I can learn to stop using pie charts. Nothing says “I don’t know jack shit about information graphics” like a pie chart.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “Outcome of 2007 legislation.”

  1. Waldo, there’s a flaw in the program. A bill cannot be continued from an odd year session to an even year session. So, it may be that your “continued” count includes those bills continued from 06 to 07 which were in the LIS when the 07 session began.

    This year, a bill either passed or it died. Some bills were left in committee without action … they are dead.

    Claire Gastanaga

  2. Huh. That’s odd. “Continued” is actually the terminology provided by the General Assembly’s Legislative Information Service. I suspect you’re right, that they remain flagged as “continued” by LIS when they’re actually dead. Seems I’ve got some code to write to work around that. Thanks!

  3. I’m sort of curious. Is there a way you can query Richmond Sunlight on the amount of budgetary amendments a legislator proposed or, for tracking earmarks, the amount of money legislators appropriated for non-state entities?

  4. The bad news is that it’s not possible with the site now, Isaac. The good news is that the General Assembly has a relatively decent system to let you do that now.

    Budget amendments are tracked via an entirely different system than the standard legislative bill process. Legislatively, for example, this year’s budget consisted of a single house bill, HB1650, and a single senate bill, SB750. There’s an entire system to track and deal with those budget amendments, almost as if each budget amendment was a bill of its own. Or, rather, sort of a child bill.

    Here’s the 2007 budget page. With it I can see that my representative in the house, Del. Rob Bell, requested a study, while my representative in the senate, Sen. Creigh Deeds, requested significant new funding for sheriffs departments, an E911 center, the fire marshal’s office, and a few other things.

    I think it’s important that this data be available in Richmond Sunlight for next year, what with it being a budget year, but that’s assuming that I finish up everything else on the site to be able to have the time. The trouble is that this existing system has URLs of Death, and the entire layout makes it very difficult to parse by machine. So getting this done may well require fundraising a significant amount of money to pay the General Assembly’s tech staff to create a system to export that data in a machine-readable format.

    Anyhow, that’s a very long answer to a very short question, but I hope it helps.

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