Archive for September, 2012

Site Set Up for 2013 Session, Bills Already Filed

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Richmond Sunlight has been set up to start receiving and displaying bills for the 2013 session—twenty of them have been filed already. In fact, the first bills came in on July 16th—Sen. Louise Lucas’s SB687 (“Virginia Casino Gaming Commission; created, penalties, report”) and Del. Manoli Loupassi’s HB1302 (“Tolling fees; prevents VDOT from charging monthly fees for payment program and its transponders”). You can watch the bills roll in on the chronological listing, or see a listing of all 344 currently in play, which includes 334 that were held over from this year’s session.

A few changes have been made on the backend of the site to prepare for the coming session. All bill pages are now being generated by querying Richmond Sunlight’s own API, in an effort to ensure that the data that we’re sharing with others is every bit as good as what we use internally. The API is now behind a Varnish cache, which means that both API calls and the public-facing website is faster than ever. The remaining non-API calls are being accelerated by an aggressive use of APC to cache the most demanding and frequent queries. And, finally, we’ve started moving JavaScript functionality from Prototype to jQuery, which has instantly made it easier to provide more interactive functionality (such as detailed information about legislators and bills by passing your mouse over mentions of them); that transition will continue to be pursued aggressively to add some great new features over the next couple of months.