Welcome to the Documentation for Open States. The sections below cover contributing to scrapers & data, and how to use the API.
About Open States¶
Open States strives to improve civic engagement at the state level by providing data and tools regarding state legislatures. We aim to serve members of the public, activist groups, journalists, and researchers with better data on what is happening in their state capital, and to provide tools to reduce barriers to participation and increase engagement.
The project aggregates legislative information from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This information is then standardized, cleaned, and published to the public via OpenStates.org, a powerful API, and bulk downloads.
All of this work is done in the open, and depends heavily on contributors striving to make this important resource available. Thank you for your interest in our community, whether you are looking to use our bulk data or APIs or interested in contributing data or code, we're glad to have you here.
When joining a new community, it can be tough to figure out where to ask questions, provide feedback, or help out. Don't worry! As long as you're respectful and follow our Code of Conduct, we're happy to have you!
Here are some guidelines regarding the best way to get in touch or contribute. Do note that Open States is a volunteer-powered project, and all of the core developers have day jobs; we're excited to talk to you, but it may sometimes take a bit of time to get back to you.
Want to ask a general question, have a conversation, or keep up with the community?
The best place is our Discussion Forum. This is the main place for Open States discussion. The core team and many other contributors are present there, and we're usually able to answer questions in a timely fashion.
Have a private question, or a security concern?
Email email@example.com; only the administrative team can see these.
Have you found an error or issue in the Open States data? Have a technical issue not related to the data itself?
File an issue on our bug tracker. And before you do, quickly check whether anyone else there has already reported the same bug.
Want to contribute to the project more regularly?
We also have a Slack that you can join. It is not the best place for asking questions better handled by filing an issue or opening a conversation on GitHub, but you're welcome to join if you're interested in being a part of the community.
Discouraged Methods of Communication¶
Please avoid using these channels to get in touch with us:
Personal email addresses of Open States developers
Please respect our boundaries & refrain from contacting any of the developers directly, unless we ask you to do so.
Twitter (or any other social media)
We mainly use the @openstates twitter account to make announcements, and don't have the resources to provide technical support or other feedback on Twitter.