Amidst the apps and services that maybe aren’t so noble–today I got an alert about one called “PhotoYOLO“–sometimes there’s one that’s useful and honorable at the same time. The brand-new iOS app Congress, from the Sunlight Foundation, builds on the previous Android app to become your all-in-one congressional tracker.
Congress has been out for Android for a little while, but the new iOS app is surprisingly pretty and also comes with a whole mess of new features. The app lets you track any individual Congressperson or bill–you just “star” them (by tapping on a star) and they become one of your favorites, so you can get real-time updates on the stuff that matters to you. Push notifications are coming, and they, like the ability to view voting calendars and floor updates, are new to the iOS app.
For a Congressperson, you can get instant access to their contact information, see where they are and how exactly they’re representing you: what bills they’re sponsoring, their voting record, that kind of thing. Bills work similarly; you get a summary of the bill, where it’s at in its interminable journey through subcommittees, who’s voting for it, whether it’s been changed, and more.
The app, like all of the Sunlight Foundation’s work, is open-source, so you can peek and alter it on GitHub if that strikes your fancy (though you can’t do much with it on non-jailbroken iPhones). The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting transparency in government through technology; its name comes from the saying “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” It might best be known for Politwoops, which collects swiftly-deleted tweets from politicians. Read more about it here, or download the app (it’s free) here.