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Avelino Maestas
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Entries by Avelino Maestas

Transparency Around the World

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2010 | 4:01 PM

It's Sunshine Week again, and in that spirit I want to share a recent story about open government. Two weeks ago, the chief of staff for a member of the Republic of Korea Assembly looked over at me and, through a translator, said he was going to...

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Transparency in New Mexico: The 2010 Legislature

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2010 | 7:45 AM

This year brings a landmark for the Sunlight Foundation. We've been hinting for some time that we're going to make a serious play in state government, and New Mexico is one of the...

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Haiti and Debt Cancellation Legislation

(7) Comments | Posted January 14, 2010 | 4:48 PM

Despite the the constant focus of our national media and political blogs on the big trends (namely, health care for the past six months), members of the United States Congress still manage to introduce and debate legislation on a myriad range of issues. With the number of constituencies and interests...

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Tracking Retirements, Tracking Races

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2010 | 3:44 PM

As my colleague Donny Shaw has noted, there have been a number of retirement announcements this week. That must mean it's an election year. Now, we like to think that OpenCongress is an incredible resource for citizens keeping track of their lawmakers...

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'Minibus' Budget Bill Passes the House

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2009 | 4:32 PM

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the possibility of Congress rolling the remaining appropriations bills into one package (called an omnibus bill) so lawmakers could approve the legislation before the end-of-year recess. Aside from that deadline, a

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Weeks Before Deadline, Congress Moves to Extend Unemployment Benefits

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2009 | 4:01 PM

While the country has experienced an almost unprecedented economic downturn this year, one of the most effective forms of stimulus has been unemployment benefits. As reported in a new

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Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Budget: Chart Edition

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2009 | 5:27 PM

We at been (reasonably, I would argue) so engrossed in the debate over health care reform and unemployment benefits here at OpenCongress that we've done a poor job of keeping you up to date on the U.S. Federal budget. I've mentioned it a few times in the...

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Crowdsourcing Unemployment Benefits at

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2009 | 6:41 PM

A few weeks ago I wrote about the wonderful work a community of OpenCongress users is doing to research information about pending unemployment legislation. These users had banded together in the comment threads for these bills, and were organizing calls...

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The Unemployment Benefits Extension Explained by OC User nancym

(3) Comments | Posted September 22, 2009 | 5:31 PM

The House today is set to vote on an extension of unemployment benefits. The comment threads on bills related to the issue have long been a valuable resource for people seeking information on unemployment benefits. For example, with huge interest in...

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Who Are the Czars, and Where Did They Come From?

(3) Comments | Posted September 15, 2009 | 11:52 AM

OpenCongress doesn't delve too often into the realm of the Executive Branch, but I've received several e-mails of late asking about congressional involvement when President Obama names a "czar" within his administration. Most of the e-mails center around the meme that these "czars" are appointed without congressional approval,...

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The Health Care Debate and the Marvel of Permalinks

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2009 | 4:22 PM

Recently, we at OpenCongress have received a lot of requests to see the text of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act (HR 3200) with page numbers. There's no denying this is a complex piece of legislation with far-reaching effects on Americans and the economy,...

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On the Trail of Defense Spending

(1) Comments | Posted July 10, 2009 | 4:41 PM

I was reading an article in the Washington Post this morning that raised a number of interesting questions for me. Specifically, the article is about the F-22 fighter jet that's at the center of a high-profile showdown between President Barack Obama's administration...

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Read The Bill Fail: Cap and Trade Edition

(2) Comments | Posted June 26, 2009 | 4:38 PM

The House today is scheduled to vote on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, a sweeping piece of legislation that will establish a program to cap emissions of pollutants and a system for trading emission permits. I won't go into too much detail for two...

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Let Congress Tweet

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2008 | 11:11 AM

Just a few weeks ago, Reps. John Culberson (R-TX) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) began their great Twitter debate over U.S. energy policy. It seemed a welcome move for many in the online world: members of Congress connecting with citizens, sharing their ideas and debating policy in an open environment.

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