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house Bill H.R. 5760

Does Congress Need to Electronically Publish Its Documents in a Searchable Format?

Argument in favor

It’s the 21st century — there’s no reason that Congress shouldn’t be publishing all of its documents in a way that allows the public to easily search them electronically.

Zard's Opinion
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10/05/2016
At this point, if Congress doesn't print it's text online in searchable format, it would be to prevent citizens from participating. This should have been done at least 20 years ago and speaks volumes about how the powerful in this country behave toward the 99%.
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Christian's Opinion
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10/05/2016
I believe as a citizen of the United States, I have the right to be able to easily access laws and other documents concerning laws and policies that concern me and others.
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Dawson's Opinion
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10/05/2016
Transparency is essential to a true Republic. Open, honest, true.
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Argument opposed

Congress already publishes a lot of these documents online in some form, it’s incumbent on citizens to do the legwork themselves to track down what they’re looking for.

Loraki's Opinion
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10/06/2016
1. The Congressional Record publishes the proceedings and debates of Congress. (There's even an app!) 2. Congress.gov lets you search legislation. 3. Govtrack.us lets you track votes on bills. 4. We also have Countable, which helps provide us with a fair amount of information. What more do you need?! Seriously, I'd like to know! Do we really need to spend money on duplicating the information? Or am I overlooking something? Do Americans need to be spoon fed all the information they say they want? Has our society gotten too lazy even to use Google or some other search engine to do our own research? Just wondering!
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jayar's Opinion
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10/05/2016
This is already being done and this bill would just waste more taxpayer money.
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Roberto's Opinion
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10/22/2016
This is already done. It would just be another waste of money at this point
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What is House Bill H.R. 5760?

This bill would require that Congress ensure that all congressional documents and votes both in Congress and in committees are published in searchable electronic formats.

The Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate would work together in establishing a Congressional Data Task Force that would act as an advisory board for creating, transmitting, and publishing congressional documents.

Impact

People who want to search congressional documents; the Congressional Data Task Force; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5760

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Much of what is required by this legislation was enacted by the House of Representatives on a 234-172 vote when it adopted its rules for the 114th Congress, though they could be abandoned or modified when a future Congress convenes. However, the Senate has not acted on all of these modernizations so this bill would legally require them to occur in both chambers of Congress on a permanent basis.

This legislation has the support of six bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including four Republicans and two Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: C-SPAN / Creative Commons)

AKA

Searchable Legislation Act of 2016

Official Title

To require all bills, resolutions, and other documents of Congress to be created, transmitted, and published in searchable electronic formats, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJuly 13th, 2016
    At this point, if Congress doesn't print it's text online in searchable format, it would be to prevent citizens from participating. This should have been done at least 20 years ago and speaks volumes about how the powerful in this country behave toward the 99%.
    Like (100)
    Follow
    Share
    1. The Congressional Record publishes the proceedings and debates of Congress. (There's even an app!) 2. Congress.gov lets you search legislation. 3. Govtrack.us lets you track votes on bills. 4. We also have Countable, which helps provide us with a fair amount of information. What more do you need?! Seriously, I'd like to know! Do we really need to spend money on duplicating the information? Or am I overlooking something? Do Americans need to be spoon fed all the information they say they want? Has our society gotten too lazy even to use Google or some other search engine to do our own research? Just wondering!
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    I believe as a citizen of the United States, I have the right to be able to easily access laws and other documents concerning laws and policies that concern me and others.
    Like (36)
    Follow
    Share
    Transparency is essential to a true Republic. Open, honest, true.
    Like (20)
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    Share
    Yes, not only from a transparency perspective, but if done properly will serve as a user-friendly informative and educational tool for the people.
    Like (17)
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    Searchable? Sure, unless Congress has something to hide. But who would think Congress had something to hide? Seems like there was something… was it Obamacare? Yes, that's where Nancy said they had to pass it so we could find out what's in it. Remember, Socialism is for the voters, not the leaders.
    Like (9)
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    This is already being done and this bill would just waste more taxpayer money.
    Like (6)
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    It's kind of ridiculous that they haven't been doing this already. It's 2016, the vast majority of the information we consume is online, and if the government wants to even appear that they're making an attempt at a democratic republic this basic level of transparency should be covered
    Like (6)
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    Obvious and overdue!
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    This is a "no brainer," all governmental documents should be easily accessible to the constituency that are the foundation country's government. No if, ands or buts. And to get those documents into the hands of the people in an easily acquired and catalogued form should be a primary goal of all governmental agencies including the two congressional houses.
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    This is a no brainier, public record is public, and in 2016 that shouldn't mean someone needs to seek a physical document, it's a simple as that.
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    Does this even need explanation?
    Like (3)
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    It's 2016. Having paper copies only is passé.
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    I get that Congress dislikes the present & the future but it does seem like time for our elected accusers (everything they don't like about America is the fault of women, minorities, non-conservative Christians, hungry children & poor people) to tip toe into the 21st century. At least electronically. This shouldn't be too threatening--at least I haven't noticed a 'taker' among the bytes! Still, who knows? There are enemies to America lurking anywhere that requires Members to actually show up & attempt to think about what might work for the country!
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    Only one person was dumb enough to think this was a bad idea
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    Why not? This adds to the level of transparency required for a truly informed electorate in the modern age.
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    Yes
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    It's 2016
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    Absolutely. This would allow us to see who wrote the legislation, who sponsored it , who lobbied for it and who voted for it. It is exactly what we need.
    Like (2)
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    This would help transparency and therefore trust in government as well as help with general knowledge of government.
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