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Four New Features to Help You With Your Issues

August 16, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Today we are pleased to introduce four new features on OpenCongress that will make it easier for you to track and share information about what’s happening in Congress with the issues that matter most to you.

A Widget For Your Issue

Our new issue areas widget lets you customize your blog or website with a concise overview of what’s happening in Congress with the issue that matters most to you. OpenCongress bills are already classified into more than 4,000 issue areas (i.e. Labor, Immigration, Federal-Indian relations, Firearms, etc.) and the new widget allows anyone to display the most-viewed bills related to their issue, or the related bills that have seen action in Congress most recently. Every time there is congressional action or a shift in public interest on bills in your issue area, the widget will be automatically updated to keep you and your readers up to date with the happenings on the federal level that have a direct effect on the things that matter to you. And as always, having access to a bill page on OpenCongress gives you not only the official stats and text for a bill, but also news and blog coverage from all over the internet to help you put it all in context. for an example of how the widget looks, see our sample here.

A Widget For Your Bill

The bill status widget lets you put a thorough yet concise summary of any bill in Congress on your website. The widget will stay up to date with all the actions in Congress involving your bill of choice, so you and your readers will always have the most current information on the bill easily at hand. It displays the bill’s title, where it stands in the process of becoming law, the senators or representatives who are sponsoring it, and links to relevant news and blog coverage. To see it in action, check out The Project on Government Oversight’ page on federal contracting.

A Bill Status Visualizer

Now every bill page on OpenCongress has a simple bill status display bar to give you a better visual sense of where a bill stands in the process of becoming a law. Check out this example to see how it looks.

Easy Social Sharing for Bills and Lawmakers

We’re working hard to make knowledge about Congress more widely accessible across the internet, so we’ve added social sharing buttons to the pages of every bill and Member of Congress. These buttons will allow one-click re-publishing of any page to popular services like Digg, del.icio.us, MyYahoo, NetVibes, and many more — as well as one-click buttons to e-mail any page to your friends. Check it out on this example.

Flickr photo by JColman used under a Creative Commons license.

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