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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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.

Video from all Senate Committee Proceedings In One Place

The United States Senate does not maintain a centralized repository for information about its committee proceedings that includes links to the videos. Our new website, https://www.senatecommitteehearings.com/, is our effort to address this issue and surface video from committee proceedings.

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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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News: Upgrades to EveryCRSReport.com

This past week we upgraded our EveryCRSReport website, which as of this writing contains approximately 17,700 reports. By comparison, the official CRS website has only around 8,500 reports. The result is that we will continue to provide you the most up-to-date CRS reports as well as an extensive archive.

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Library of Congress to host virtual meeting on its legislative information services

On Thursday, September 10th, the Library of Congress will host its first-ever virtual forum on the Library’s legislative information services at 10 a.m. ET. (Follow the link to RSVP).

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Drafting Legislation Just Got Easier. Introducing BillToText.com

Drafting legislation in Congress can be a daunting process. Typically, staffers provide an outline of the desired bill to the Office of Legislative Counsel (OLC), and an OLC attorney drafts the legislation. This often is an iterative process, with OLC asking questions and congressional staff updating their ideas.

This process can create problems for staff when they request feedback from other congressional offices or outside stakeholders. OLC sends the draft back as a PDF, which staffers can’t change on their own and other stakeholders cannot edit. This makes it hard to collaborate.  

We’ve tried to find a way to improve how Members solicit and receive feedback. We’re proud to introduce BillToText.com, a tool for more efficient drafting. 

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