By Chris Copsey, Legislative Research Director
The Legislative Research Department’s primary responsibility of tracking legislation all over the country has been so productive that we are thinking about expanding to other areas that might be useful to voters. These areas include covering historic pieces of legislation, committee votes, and governor vetoes. Each of these areas have their own reasons for being included, and Vote Smart is asking you, the user, for input.
The first area under consideration is that of historical pieces of legislation. While the bills being discussed right now will have an effect on the nation, we think that it might be useful for voters to highlight certain bills that have helped frame the current political discussions. Issues such as Social Security are being discussed right now in Washington, D.C., and around the country, but who can say what the Social Security Act really says? We think that providing factual information on many bills from the past can provide not only voters, but also researchers and academia, enough insight to make a judgment on the issues of today.
Secondly, committee votes are an important part of the legislative process, so it would be natural that we start looking at those bills that die in the committee stage, or even bills that have had their bill texts substantially changed from what was originally introduced. Knowing how a member voted on his or her committee can help contribute to a voter’s all around knowledge about a particular candidate. Not only that, but many contentious bills die in committee, never making it to the floor. This would be one way to highlight those bills.
Finally, under the current system, every veto that a governor makes is entered into our website. Since pieces of legislation are vetoed for many reasons, including grammatical reasons, we thought that selecting Key Vetoes and writing summaries of those vetoes would help inform voters on the actions of their governors.
We ask that you please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions and comments regarding the proposed additions to our legislative research, and of course, stay tuned to Project Vote Smart for the latest legislative updates!
Project Vote Smart has been made possible by over 100,000 liberal and conservative fellow citizens. No funds are accepted from lobbyists, corporations, unions or others that support or oppose candidates. As a volunteer-based organization, Vote Smart will survive on individual small contributions or not at all. For more information on how you can become a Vote Smart Member, please visit us here.
21 November 2011