OCDEP 6: Bills

Created:2014-06-16
Author:James Turk
Status:Accepted

Overview

Definition of Open Civic Data Bill schema.

Rationale

Bills are the primary artifact of legislatures, proposals to modify or create laws. Open Civic Data Bills are the representation of this concept, which may sometimes be known by other names such as Proposal, Resolution, or Measure.

Implementation

id
A unique ID in the format ocd-bill/{uuid}.
legislative_session
A reference to a legislative_session from the relevant Jurisdiction (see OCDEP 3: Jurisdictions for details). This must contain the name attribute at minimum, but may contain any valid object that is found in the Jurisdiction.legislative_session object.
identifier
A name for the bill, such as ‘HB 1’ or ‘2117’.
title
The current title of the bill, such as ‘The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’.
from_organization, from_organization_id

optional The organization that the bill was originally introduced in. In the US this would be the organization representing the House if it were a House bill or resolution, and the Senate if it were a Senate bill.

This field can be omitted if it is not known or there is not a single chamber of introduction (such as a Joint Resolution).

classification
A list of classifications for this bill, suggested values would be things like ‘bill’, ‘resolution’, ‘constitutional amendment’, etc.
subject
optional A curated list of subject areas that this bill is a part of.
abstracts

A list of objects representing available abstracts (sometimes called summaries) for the bill, each with the following fields:

abstract
The text of the abstract.
note
optional A note about the origin of the summary, such as “Republican Caucus Summary” or “Library of Congress Summary”
other_titles

A list of objects representing alternate titles for the bill.

title
The text of an alternate title that someone might use to refer to the bill, an example might be “Obamacare” for the Affordable Care Act.
note
optional A note describing the origin of the title.
other_identifiers

A list of objects representing alternate identifiers for the bill.

Also note that this is to refer to bills that have multiple names, such as in Tennessee where bills are given a House and Senate number but have shared history. In states where there are two related bills with distinct parallel histories, a second Bill object should be created and the related_bill property (described below) should be used.

identifier
The alternate identifier (e.g. HB 7)
note
optional A note describing the reason for the alternate name.
scheme
optional If the identifier belongs to a 3rd-party site (such as OpenStates.org assigned bill ids) it must provide a scheme, scheme should be omitted if it is an identifier from the primary source.
actions

A list of objects representing individual actions that take place on a bill, comprising the legislative history of the proposal in question. Actions consist of the following properties:

organization, organization_id
The organization that this action took place within.
description
Description of the action.
date
The date the action occurred in YYYY-MM-DD format. (can be partial by omitting -MM-DD or -DD component).
classification
A list of classifications for this actions, suggested values would be things like ‘passage’, ‘introduction’, etc.
related_entities

A list of all related entities (such as legislators mentioned by name in the action). Each entity has the following fields:

name
The upstream-given name of this related entity.
entity_type
‘organization’ or ‘person’ - the type of entity that is related
organization, organization_id
If the entity_type is ‘organization’ and the entity is resolved, will be the organization that is related.
person, person_id
If the entity_type is ‘person’ and the entity is resolved, will be the person that is related.
related_bills

List of all related (but distinct) bills. An example might be a bill that was introduced in a prior session (and thus is similar but has different legislative history).

An array of entities with the following fields:

identifier
The identifier of the related bill, such as SB 22.
legislative_session
A link to the legislative session the related bill is from.
relation_type

Description of the relation between the two bills, can be:

  • companion - A companion bill introduced in the same session in opposite chamber.
  • prior-session - Same bill as introduced in a prior session.
  • replaced-by - A bill that was replaced by another bill.
  • replaces - A bill that supercedes another bill.
related_bill, related_bill_id
If the related bill exists in the data set, a link to the complete record for the bill. (can be null if no such link has yet been made)
sponsorships

A list of all sponsoring people and organizations.

primary

A boolean that is true if the sponsor can be considered ‘primary.’ The exact meaning of this is jurisdiction-dependent.

Note: this can often be derived from classification, but can often be highly jurisdiction dependent (among US states for example the terms author, sponsor, cosponsor, and coauthor can mean quite different things). Because of this, and the frequent need to indicate which author(s) should be displayed in a short list of sponsors when the full list might be half of the legislature or more, we’ve chosen to include this field.

classification
The classification of the sponsor, such as ‘cosponsor’ or ‘author’.
name
The upstream-given name of this sponsor.
entity_type
‘organization’ or ‘person’ - the type of the sponsor.
organization, organization_id
If the entity_type is ‘organization’ and the entity is resolved, will be the sponsoring organization.
person, person_id
If the entity_type is ‘person’ and the entity is resolved, will be the sponsoring individual.
versions

All versions of the bill.

note
Note describing the version (e.g. ‘Introduced’, ‘Engrossed’, etc.)
date
The date the version was published in YYYY-MM-DD format (partial dates are acceptable).
links

Links to ‘available forms’ of the version. Each version can be available in multiple forms such as PDF and HTML. (For those familiar with DCAT this is the same as the Distribution class.) Has the following properties:

url
URL of the link.
media_type
The media type of the link.
documents

All documents related to the bill with the exception of versions (which are part of the above versions).

note
Note describing the document’s relation to the bill (e.g. ‘Fiscal Note’, ‘Committee Report’, etc.)
date
The date the document was published in YYYY-MM-DD format (partial dates are acceptable).
links

Links to ‘available forms’ of the document. Each document can be available in multiple forms such as PDF and HTML. (For those familiar with DCAT this is the same as the Distribution class.) Has the following properties:

url
URL of the link.
media_type
The media type of the link.
created_at
Time that this object was created at in the system, not to be confused with the date of introduction.
updated_at
Time that this object was last updated in the system, not to be confused with the last action.
sources

List of sources used in assembling this object. Has the following properties:

url
URL of the resource.
note
optional Description of what this source was used for.
extras
Common to all Open Civic Data types, the value is a key-value store suitable for storing arbitrary information not covered elsewhere.

Further Reading

Many ideas here were based on the work in Open States.

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