Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) today introduced the Readable Legislation Act of 2018 and the Searchable Legislation Act of 2018.
The Readable Legislation Act requires every bill to show the changes the bill makes to the full text of existing sections of law the bill repeals or amends. Without context, provisions to strike text, repeal sections, or insert new language provide little meaningful information about what the bill does. Requiring that bills reproduce amended sections of law and show how the bill would change them—similar to the “track changes” feature in Microsoft Word—will allow members, staff, and constituents to better understand federal legislation.
The Searchable Legislation Act requires every bill, resolution, and document produced by Congress to be created, transmitted, and published in searchable electronic formats, consistent with recommendations from a congressional data task force the bill codifies. These new standards will open up the legislative process by increasing access to congressional documents.
Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Coalition said: “Bills and other legislative materials are largely drafted and published in static documents, like PDFs, instead of open, structured data. The Searchable Legislation Act will set a presumption in favor of open data: searchable, transparent, and machine-readable.”
Alexander B. Howard, Deputy Director of the Sunlight Foundation said: “The Readable Legislation Act and the Searchable Legislation Act would both make meaningful, tangible improvements to public access and understanding of the raw materials of democracy: bills before Congress. If enacted, this legislation would build upon a decade of progress opening the first branch of government to the people it serves."
Upon introduction, the bills were cosponsored by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.Dak.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Luke Messer (R-Ind.), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Dave Brat (R-Va.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).
The bills are attached.
114 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Justin Amash (pronounced uh-MOSH) represents Michigan’s Third District in the 113th United States Congress. He was elected to his first term on November 2, 2010.
Justin was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree with High Honors in Economics from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. He worked for his family’s business, as a business lawyer, and as a Michigan state representative before his election to Congress.
Justin has never missed a vote in Congress or in the Michigan Legislature out of more than 3,000 roll call votes. He is leading the incorporation of Facebook and other social media into his work as an elected official by posting an explanation of every vote online, and he has set new standards for transparency and accountability.
Justin believes government overspending is one of the biggest threats to our economic health and national security, and he has introduced an innovative balanced budget amendment—the Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment—to control government spending and reduce the national debt. He supports a fair and simple tax code and a regulatory environment that promotes economic prosperity.
As an ardent defender of Americans’ civil liberties, Justin has been a leading critic of theunconstitutional suspicionless mass collection of all Americans’ phone records, the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
When asked by a New York Times reporter to describe his voting methodology, Justin explained: “I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.”
Justin is a member of the Joint Economic Committee and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR). He serves on the OGR subcommittees on National Security andGovernment Operations. Justin chairs the House Liberty Caucus.
Justin lives in Cascade Charter Township with his wife Kara, a graduate of Calvin College and a former elementary school teacher. Justin and Kara have three children.
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