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Settlement results in new tool for reporters

It is now much easier to see a legislator’s voting history, and how those votes correlate to contributions the lawmaker received, thanks to a legal victory by the California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) and MAPLight.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that researches connections between money and politics.

Information about how legislators voted has long been available on the Legislative Counsel’s Web site, but to see how a particular lawmaker voted, you’d have to pull up each bill individually. No database was available for downloading.

After CFAC and MapLight sued, the Legislative Council created a new area on its Web site a “structured database” which contains information about Legislators’ votes in a structured, machine-readable format that appears to be updated on a timely basis.

The settlement also requires the Legislative Counsel to pay $65,000 towards MAPLight.org’s and CFAC’s attorney’s fees.

For details, go to the CFAC’s announcement and this story in the SF Weekly.

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