Tracing Policy Ideas From Lobbyists Through State Legislatures

Fellows: Matthew Burgess, Eugenia Giraudy, Julian Katz-Samuels
Mentor: Joe Walsh
Project Manager: Lauren Haynes
Project Partner: Sunlight Foundation
[Project Blog Post] [Paper]

Legislators often lack the time to write bills, so they frequently rely on outside groups to help. Researchers and concerned citizens would like to know who’s writing legislative bills, but trying to read those bills, let alone trace their source, is tedious and time consuming. This is especially true at the state and local levels, where arguably more important policy decisions are made every day.

This project will create tools to help analyze and access government bills. Using the Sunlight Foundation’s collection of state bills and model legislation scraped from lobbying groups from around the country, we will build tools to shed light on the origination and diffusion of policy ideas around the country, the effectiveness of various lobbying organizations, and the democratic nature of individual bills, all in near real time.