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This Eye-Popping Interactive Visualization Shows Every Bill Introduced By Congress Since 1973

Passing legislation? Looks more like Atari.

At first glance, Legislative Explorer resembles an newfangled version of space invaders. Blue and red dots shoot out from the corners of a black screen and explode like starbursts. In fact, the tool is an interactive visualization tracking every bill and resolution in the U.S. Congress since 1973. That's 250,000 pieces of legislation, which you can search by topic, party, and even the gender of the sponsor. But while Legislative Explorer lets you see how congress works, it's also a pretty clear picture of how badly the U.S. House and Senate are broken. Just look at all the bills introduced in the last year. And then see which ones actually passed. Womp womp.

Legislative Explorer was created by John Wilkerson, a political scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for American Politics and Public Policy, and developed by design studio, Schema.

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1 Comments

  • Too much gets by without scrutiny, and that lack of mass attention can be exploited.

    There’s no good reason that we can’t simply interact with more government (and corporate and healthcare) data and policies this way.

    Considering the partnerships between US tech and military and security industries - capable of some incredible advanced applications - imagine the transparency, access and power those partnerships could give to citizens.

    [Then again, maybe you don’t have that because those who call the shots don’t want you to have that. ]

    Hopefully we see more of this type of interpretation of data, but with utility and empowerment. Once more technology is applied to government processes, as well as to all other sectors, it’ll lead to more citizen oversight and transparency that's more aligned with democratic ideals.