Data Format and Updates
Each row in the dataset represents a unique bill-term-version combination or a unique law-term combination. Bills are chamber- and version-specific, so there may be multiple rows for a bill that has a House/Senate companion and multiple rows for multiple versions of the same bill in the same chamber. The tool may not include bills that have not been formally introduced (e.g., bills that are publicly available as draft text) or for which text has not yet been posted to Congress.gov.
When a bill is reintroduced in a new Congress, it may be represented with a new row in the dataset, even if the text is identical (note that the Congress number will be different, and the bill number will likely be different as well). It may be useful or important to read a definition of a term in the context of the bill — many definitions of terms refer to other terms defined elsewhere, including in other parts of that bill's text or in enacted law, which is one of the reasons why we include a link to the full text of the bill associated with each term. In addition, the tool does not include information about how each bill or law may be impacted by court decisions or other factors.
The data may contain errors or may not reflect the most updated version of each term, bill, law, or definition. If you see an error or know of a bill that you think should be included, let us know! The data may be updated or changed at any time and the schema of the data may change with updates. The full data dictionary is included below, and further data documentation — such as a data sheet, data statement, and data nutrition label — as well as examples of analysis that can be done using this data are coming soon!
- Term: Term defined in a given bill or law.
- Definition: Definition of term from bill or law.
- Bill or law name: Title of the bill or law. Note that a bill or law may have multiple titles.
- Bill chamber: For bills, the Chamber (House or Senate) where the bill was introduced. Empty for laws.
- Bill number: For bills, the number of the bill. Empty for laws.
- US Code Section: For laws, the associated section of the U.S. Code. Empty for bills.
- Text version date: Date associated with this version of the text on Congress.gov.
- Text version type: Action associated with the bill on the text version date on Congress.gov.
- Date definition retrieved: Date on which the definition was retrieved. Updated versions or edits to the bill after this date may not be reflected in the data.
- Type: Type of legislative text, either proposed legislation or enacted law.
- Geography: Jurisdiction of the bill or law.
- Congress: Number of the Congress associated with the version of the bill shown. Empty for laws.
- Title List: For bills, list of all titles. Empty for laws.
- Sponsor Party: For bills, party of the bill's sponsor. Empty for laws.
- Num. Cosponsors: For bills, number of cosponsors of the bill at the time the definition was retrieved. Empty for laws.
- Bipartisan Bill: For bills, indicator for whether the parties of the sponsors and cosponsors included at least two different parties (Republican, Democrat, or Independent).
- URL: Congress.gov PDF URL for version of the bill (for bills) or US Code URL for laws.
- Committees: For bills, the Committees the bill was associated with at the time data was pulled.
- Collection: Manually added tag to allow for grouping similar terms together.
Spot an error? Know of a term that you think should be added? Any other thoughts or questions? Email us to let us know!