Congressional Hackathon 4.0

On Wednesday, April 6th, 2022, Congress held the Fourth Congressional Hackathon, co-hosted by Majority Leader Hoyer and Minority Leader McCarthy. This blogpost is a stub to gather information from the hackathon. We will update it when we have some time.

The format of the hackathon was:

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Project ideas for the Congressional Hackathon

The fourth Congressional Hackathon will be held on April 6th, and in advance of the proceedings we’ve updated our list of project ideas and resources for the hackathon. The information is published as a Google document, so please feel encouraged to add your own ideas or add content to existing ones.

The ideas, including a summary of the idea, recommendations, and resources, are available here. You can also find a top line summary of the idea below.

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Recap of the March 2022 Bulk Data Task Force Meeting

Last Thursday, March 10, the Bulk Data Task Force held its first quarterly meeting of 2022. The virtual meeting, hosted by the House Clerk’s office, featured presentations from civil society representatives and updates from several legislative branch organizations including GPO, the Library of Congress, the House CAO, the House Clerk, Majority Leader Hoyer’s office, the Secretary of the Senate, and CBO. As Kirsten Gullickson from the House Clerk’s office noted, the virtual format allowed people to participate worldwide. Information from these meetings are posted online.

The video is not yet available, but we will update the blogpost when it is; you can also check here

Mark your calendars: the second quarterly meeting is scheduled for June 9 from 2-3:30 EST. 

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Save the Date: Fourth Congressional Hackathon on April 6

The Fourth Congressional Hackathon will be held (in person) on Wednesday, April 6 from 1 – 6 PM in the CVC Auditorium of the Capitol Building. Majority Leader Hoyer and Minority Leader McCarthy will co-host. Register to hack here.

The last congressional hackathon was held way back in 2017. You can read our recap here. (And if you’re really feeling nostalgic, you can read our recaps of #1 and #2 too.) 

Save the Date: BDTF Meetings on March 10 and June 9

The next Bulk Data Task Force meeting will be held on Zoom on Thursday, March 10, from 2 – 3:30 EST.

The second quarter meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 9, also from 2 – 3:30 EST.

Registration for the March 10th event is now online here. The agenda is as follows:

  • Welcome and Background (Meeting starts at 2:01/2:02)
  • Reports/Updates from our Legislative Branch organizations: GPO, GPO, House Clerk, House CAO, Senate Secretary, CBO, others [35 to 40 minutes]
  • Reports/Updates from civil society organizations [15 to 20 minutes]
  • Time for Discussion/Questions and Answers
  • Announcements/Closing (Meeting ends at 3:30 pm EST)

Highlights from BDTF’s last meeting, held back in July 2021, included allowing digital submission of legislative documents to the House of Representatives during the ongoing public health emergency; the House Clerk’s Comparative Print Project and our BillMap tool for tracking legislative memes; and several other modernization updates from GPO, the Library of Congress, and the Secretary of the Senate. Read our recap here.

The Recap: Library of Congress 2021 Virtual Public Forum

On September 2, 2021, the Library of Congress held the second of two virtual public fora on the Library’s role in providing access to legislative information directed by congressional appropriators in FY2020. (For reference, language requiring the proceedings was included in the committee report accompanying the FY2020 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill.) We summarized the 2020 forum here.

The event was well attended — the Library noted over one hundred RSVPs — and several participants voiced their appreciation and recommended continuing the practice in the future. During Q&A, the Library stated that there were no plans in place for future public virtual events to continue, but indicated that we’d “hear more” about any such plans after the video was published. (No news so far.)

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Serial Set for 69th Congress is Now Online

GPO + Library of Congress announced they have completed scanning the serial set for the 69th Congress (1925-1927). A serial set contains all the numbered Senate and House Documents and Senate and House Reports for that period.

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How to Track Legislative Memes

Legislation is how ideas are put into a format that Congress can process and transform into law. Some ideas are introduced again and again, but in different formats or at different times. Some bills in one chamber of Congress may have a nearly identical version introduced in the other. The same bill can be introduced again and again over multiple Congresses until it is enacted into law. Or a group of legislative ideas can be rolled together into a larger legislative package.

I like to think of ideas contained in legislation as legislative memes, which is a powerful way to understand what Congress is doing. We are working on a legislative tool, call BillMap, that allows you to track legislative memes as they move through Congress.

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Recap of Bulk Data Task Force Meeting on July 14, 2021

The Bulk Data Task Force met on July 14, 2021, for the first quarterly meeting since October 2019, which is just before the COVID pandemic began. The virtual meeting included presentations from the House of Representatives, the Library of Congress, GPO, the Senate, and Demand Progress Education Fund. Video from the 2-hour long proceedings are available here and slides from the presentations are available on GPO’s Innovation Hub. More than 100 people were pre-registered to attend the meeting.

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Statute Compilations Now Available in USLM

Today GPO announced that statute compilations are now available online (here) in USLM XML. A statute compilation is a document that contains a law originally passed by Congress and shows how later legislation has amended the law.

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