Visualizing Washington’s Legislative Process

University of Washington

The path a bill takes from when it’s introduced to Congress to when it is, or isn’t, signed into law is long and winding. Legislative Explorer: Washington State is an interactive visualization that reveals this lawmaking process to help students and the public better understand policymaking and discover associated patterns. Schema partnered with the Center for Public Policy and American Studies at the University of Washington to create this project as a complement to their first LegEx visualization that showed the US Congress’s lawmaking process, which is very similar to Washington’s. For this version, additional interactivity underscores a bill’s nonlinear movement through committees, and the visualization supports characteristics particular to the state—for instance, its seasonal legislative sessions and the ability for the governor and citizens to introduce bills in addition to senators and representatives. View the project.

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Showing the Lawmaking Process

The visualization is structured to intuitively show how hundreds of bills are introduced and make their way through multiple committees each year, with only around 3% becoming laws. A timeline also includes a histogram showing the volume of bills introduced during legislative sessions. Highlighting a bill reveals its unique path from start to finish, and hovering on a lawmaker shows their activity.

Discover Patterns and Details

Bills can be filtered by topic, political party, and various other characteristics to reveal patterns. Clicking on a bill or lawmaker provides a closer look at various details to spur further exploration, sorting, and movement through the visualization.

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