Four More States Added Courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation

Over the summer we added four more states that you can now access legislative information from: New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.  Our data comes from the Open States API, a project of the Sunlight Foundation.   They are supporting our efforts to gather and make it easier to share state-level legislative data.  Enjoy!

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PolicyPitch adds legislative data from four new states

You can now access legislative data for Vermont, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Nevada (in addition to Arizona, California, and Kentucky)!  The data includes bill summaries, bill text, legislative sponsor information and for some states, bill analysis, time line and history.  We want to say thanks to our friends at the Sunlight Foundation! They have done a great job with the Open States API.

We are working hard on adding more states and look forward to providing you with more data in early 2011.   Until then, enjoy!



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New Partnership with the Sunlight Foundation

We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Sunlight Foundation!  The Sunlight Foundation is the national leader in government transparency and accountability.  Their focus is on the digitization of government data and the creation of tools and web sites to make that data easily accessible for all people.   Sunlight has funded and advanced some amazing projects, including Open Congress, FollowTheMoney and OpenSecrets.  Their internal development team, Sunlight Labs, also runs several online programs to foster transparency, including Apps for America, the Congress Android App and  The Fifty State Project.  Check out all their projects here.

So, what are we working on?  First off, Sunlight has given us a mini-grant.  The grant will help our team develop new data scrapers for the City of New Orleans ordinances and Home Rule Charter as well as other technology upgrades and features.  Additionally, PolicyPitch will be integrating their state legislative data from the Fifty State Project.   Once complete, this will allow our users to track local legislation in all fifty states!  For most of Sunlight’s history, their initiatives have primarily focused on Congressional and federal level transparency and disclosure.  This Sunlight – PolicyPitch partnership begins to move digital transparency to the state and local level and helps improve citizen engagement and influence.

PolicyPitch and Sunlight are also both dedicated to open source principles.  Accordingly, all of the information available on our site will (eventually) be opened up to any of our users to view, utilize, mashup, or otherwise use at their discretion.  We are very excited to be working with Sunlight and look forward to the next set of updates to the site!  Stay tuned!

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PolicyPitch a Top 3 website in Gambit’s 2010 Best of New Orleans Web Awards

PolicyPitch.com was voted in Gambit’s Top 3 for their first annual Gambit’s 2010 Best of New Orleans Web Awards competition in the category of “Best Service Provider.”   I definitely want to give a shout out to Gator Works, the very talented team that did our web design.  In addition, congrats to all the other websites and business that also won!  You can check out all the finalists here.

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NEW DESIGN AND FEATURES

Hello everyone, welcome to the new version of PolicyPitch.  Our team has been hard at work over the past several months to update the design and add lots of new features.  We asked our users what you wanted and we hope the new site will deliver that.  Having said that, I’d like to update you with our new features.

The new site is more focused on legislation transparency than before by extracting legislation information from Arizona, California, and Kentucky so that all of the political actions are visible. The main holdover from the previous version is the ability to pitch your own policy in any community you want.  You can vote for or against any policy on its detail page by clicking on the buttons in the top right corner.  You can get email notifications on any update by tracking policies, politicians, categories, and users.  A full tutorial of the website can be seen on the How It Works page

We’re really excited about the new version.  We hope it makes it easier to navigate and encourages people to pitch their own policies, vote, and make comments.  Let’s start bringing the power to the people in your community!

T. Smith

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Welcome 2010: iPhone app Election Hub & new site

Welcome, 2010!  It’s been a while since the last post, and the PolicyPitch team has been busy working on several new initiatives!

First, we want to announce the release of our first iPhone application: Election Hub! Election Hub includes up-to-the-minute stats, facts, news and notes on each New Orleans 2010 Mayoral and City Council candidate. Features include candidate bios and platform stances, incoming news articles, campaign finance reports, and twitter feeds.  Election Hub also features an interactive community section where users can comment and sound-off on the candidates, campaign spending, platform stances, and news.  Additionally, Election Hub polls the app’s users once a week on who they would vote for in the Mayoral race.  DOWNLOAD the app for FREE.

Election Hub was launched as a joint venture between PolicyPitch and Susco Solutions.  Susco Solutions is one of the premier mobile development and software companies in the South.  Susco’s expertise and responsiveness was fantastic at all levels.  Check out Susco’s take on Election Hub’s development.  More information on Election Hub here.

Second, the re-design of the PolicyPitch site has been underway for months and is FINALLY nearing completion.  The new site will feature a streamlined look and simplified navigation; easier tools to pitch your policies, the ability to contact local elected officials, and all of the legislative bills from Arizona, California, and Kentucky (with Louisiana coming very soon)!  Shortly thereafter, we will have all of the bills filed by legislators in all 50 states!

Third, check out the “If I Were Mayor” platform developed by HumidBeings.com in partnership with PolicyPitch and Engage Nola.  IIWM allows citizens of New Orleans to post policy ideas for the Mayoral candidates and vote on those ideas!  Check it out.

Overall, this has been a fantastic few months and a great start to 2010!

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June-July Updates

Things are moving along at PolicyPitch.com!

Among the biggest news, we were selected and honored by New Orleans City Business for The 2009 New Orleans Innovator of the Year!  We were selected as a top honoree from hundreds of submissions.   The final selection will be in late September.  We have our fingers crossed!

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