How We Compile Legislator Factsheets
To educate constituents on their representatives’ records on science, We the Scientists provides factsheets of legislators’ voting history on science-relevant legislation. Factsheets for all active members of the House of Representatives are available on the How Do My Reps Vote? page.
Step 1. Identify Candidate Legislation
We use www.congress.gov to identify bills that have come to a vote in the House of Representatives by querying the database with standard search terms to identify potentially science-relevant legislation.
Step 2. Classify Legislation
We monitor both the legislation of scientific activities (research funding and oversight) and the use of scientific evidence in crafting legislation (evidence-based policy). Once candidate bills have been identified, they are assessed for relevance to each of the following topics based on We the Scientists National Policy Positions:
Public Health / Drug Policy
Crime / Incarceration Policy
Environment / Energy Policy
Some bills may have broad impact across multiple categories; some may even have a positive impact in one category despite a negative or mixed impact in another. For this reason, a single bill may be classified as belonging to multiple categories.
Step 3. Evaluate Legislation
Using the We the Scientist National Policy Positions, each bill in each category is ranked “Favorable”, “Mixed”, or “Unfavorable” for science. Every rating is accompanied by a brief explanation according to our Policy Positions. You can find the comprehensive list of bills in our analysis and their explanations below:
Step 4. Compile Voting Records into Factsheets
Once legislation is rated, we use the ProPublica API to query current legislators’ voting record on those bills. These voting records are compiled into factsheets of each legislator’s voting history and posted on the How Do My Reps Vote? tab. You can find the voting records of all included representatives below:
We are currently working to expand these methods to the U.S. Senate as well as state and local legislatures. If you would like to help, get in touch !