New Data Tools Peer Into Who's Lobbying State Legislators on Climate Policy

"Separate efforts by Brown University researchers and OpenSecrets allow searches of who’s influencing state lawmakers. Less than half of states make lobbying information accessible for analysis."

"Researchers at Brown University hope to turn climate action defeat into a win for state government transparency.

Brown’s Climate and Development Lab this month unveiled, a new searchable online database of influence-peddling in state capitals. A first-of-its-kind tool, it allows users to dig into who’s pushing and who’s opposing legislation in 17 states.

The website tracks 17 million positions taken by lobbyists on state legislation going back as far as 25 years, and includes a network analysis tool that allows researchers to visualize coalitions and lobbying foes. It took years for students and research fellows to develop the algorithms and scrape the data from government websites. Their faculty leader, environmental studies professor J. Timmons Roberts, said the inspiration for the project was the failed battle to get carbon pricing legislation passed in Rhode Island from 2015 to 2020, an effort many Brown students participated in."

Marianne Lavelle reports for Inside Climate News April 2, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 04/02/2024