It occurred to me that with today’s release we are now midway through 2020. I thought it would be nice to take a step back and review the enhancements that we have made with Congress.gov so far this year. For our first release in early January, we added the ability to link directly to a section of text in legislation. In a more recent release, we refined this function based on user feedback. In the second January release, we added the bill sponsor to saved search alerts for legislation.
In February, we added an audio function to the legislative text section of a bill page so you can have legislative text read to you (click “Listen to this page” in the text tab). We also added a weekly alert to our Committee Schedule. On the House member pages, we added links to the new House Clerk website member pages that include a member’s committee assignments and the last one hundred votes taken.
In March, member email alerts were updated to include the member’s photograph. We also truncated committee meeting titles when using the search results compact view to make it easier to scan the results list. You can still use the Expanded view in search results to see full titles.
May saw the addition of a new collection to the site, Committee Prints. A Spanish language version of the Legislative Process Overview was added. We also updated the default search to be Current Congress (rather than the previous Current Legislation). This allows greater exposure to newer items like Committee Prints and items on the Committee Schedule.
In June, we continued to update the House member profile pages by adding district maps. We had also been laying the ground work to add the Bound Congressional Record to the site and added the 103rd Congress to this site.
That brings us to July. This month we have now added the Bound Edition of the Congressional Record for the 101st and 102nd Congresses (1989-1992) to the site. There is a new way to browse the 103rd Congress. We also enhanced our saved search alerts to customize alerts to be sent only when new items match your search. This was also based on user feedback. Now you can select alerts only on new items or set your alerts for when the status of the legislation in the results set changes. The description tabs of House amendments now have links to committee reports.
I have been impressed with our team’s ability to continue to build upon the great work the last six months and am looking forward to what we have planned for Congress.gov during the second half of this year. If you are a member of Congress, staff, or a constituent, please continue to use Congress.gov and keep providing feedback. Your help makes the website an even better tool.