Tag: sunlight before signing

Sunlight Before Signing Update—and a First!

When I last reported on Sunlight Before Signing—President Obama’s promise to post bills online for five days before signing them—the administration had begun to rack up the wins. Of the 13 bills he signed in December, five had received the Sunlight Before Signing treatment.

Alas, since January, only one of the 18 bills subject to the promise has gotten the online exposure the president promised. (That was H.R. 1377/P.L. 111-137, a bill dealing with reimbursement of veterans for services they receive at non-V.A. facilities.)

It’s an unfortunate slow-down from the heady days when the president’s SBS batting average rocketed from a dismal .009 to .048. The president’s current Sunlight Before Signing average is only slightly improved at .049 (7 for 142).

The average could have risen quite nicely. Eight bills were post office renamings that sat at the White House for more than five days anyway. It was just a matter of posting them on Whitehouse.gov. True: these aren’t important bills, but the Sunlight Before Signing promise was simply to post all bills. The American people could benefit from seeing the “unimportant” work of Congress and the president along with the important.

There was one interesting development in SBS since I last reported: we saw a bill go through that was not subject to the Sunlight Before Signing promise.

S. 2949/P.L. 111-127 provided additional funds to the U.S. Repatriation Program in light of the disaster in Haiti. That money was for getting people out of harm’s way, and waiting five days to release the funds would have kept people in physical peril. It was ”emergency” legislation, which President Obama sensibly excluded from the five-day waiting period of Sunlight Before Signing.

(By contrast, H.R. 4462/P.L. 111-126—which accelerated tax deductability of contributions for Haiti—was about an emergency, but not emergency legislation itself: changing the tax treatment of charitable contributions would only indirectly affect people’s physical safety, health, etc.)

More than a year into the current administration, we’ve seen the contours of the Sunlight Before Signing promise. We’ve seen the White House make a good run at fulfilling the promise. But in the early months of this year, we haven’t seen much more actual execution.

When the president does follow through on Sunlight Before Signing, it will be a simple but important service to the millions of Americans who might get a better idea of how the government works and what it does. It will also fulfill a campaign promise.

Below is the latest Sunlight Before Signing chart:

Public Law Date Presented Date Signed Five Days? Posted (Linked)? Posted Five Days?
P.L. 111-2, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No 1/29/2009* No
P.L. 111-3, The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 2/4/2009 2/4/2009 No (2/1/2009)* No
P.L. 111-4, The DTV Delay Act 2/9/2009 2/11/2009 No 2/5/2009* Yes †
P.L. 111-5, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 2/16/2009 2/17/2009 No (2/13/2009)* No
P.L. 111-6, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes 3/6/2009 3/6/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-7, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the “Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building” 2/26/09 3/9/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-8, The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 3/11/2009 3/11/2009 No (3/5/2009)* No
P.L. 111-9, To extend certain immigration programs 3/18/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-10, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 3/19/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-11, The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 3/30/2009 3/30/2009 No (3/27/2009)* No
P.L. 111-12, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009 3/24/2009 3/30/2009 Yes (3/24/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-13, The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act 4/20/2009 4/21/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-14, To designate the United States courthouse under construction at 327 South Church Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the “Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse” 4/14/2009 4/23/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-15, The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 4/14/2009 4/24/2009 Yes (3/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-16, The Statutory Time-Periods Technical Amendments Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-17, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of David M. Rubenstein as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 4/28/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-18, A bill to repeal section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the “Bennett Freeze” 4/28/2009 5/8/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-19, The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/12/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-20, The Protecting Incentives for the Adoption of Children with Special Needs Act of 2009 5/5/2009 5/15/2009 Yes (5/5/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-21, The FERA 5/19/2009 5/20/2009 No (5/15/2009)* No
P.L. 111-22, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No (5/20/2009)* No
P.L. 111-23, The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 5/21/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/14/2009* No
P.L. 111-24, The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/15/2009* No
P.L. 111-25, The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act 5/21/2009 6/2/2009 Yes (5/28/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-26, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 12877 Broad Street in Sparta, Georgia, as the “Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-27, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 East 3rd Street in Jamestown, New York, as the “Stan Lundine Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-28, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-29, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3245 Latta Road in Rochester, New York, as the “Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-30, The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 Extension Act 6/19/2009 6/19/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-31, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act 6/16/2009 6/22/2009 Yes (6/12/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-32, The Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 6/19/2009 6/24/2009 Yes (5/20/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-33, The Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 6/16/2009 6/26/2009 Yes (6/16/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-34, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the “J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-35, To designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the “Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-36, The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-37, The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 6/25/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/25/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-38, A bill to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 6/24/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-39, To make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes 6/26/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/26/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-40, A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (”WASP”) 6/24/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-41, The Korean War Veterans Recognition Act 7/27/2009 7/27/2009 No (7/25/2009)* No
P.L. 111-42, Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 7/28/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-43, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 7/30/2009 7/31/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-44, The New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-45, To authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-46, To restore sums to the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes 8/4/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/09) No
P.L. 111-47, Making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program 8/6/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-48, The Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act 7/31/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (7/31/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-49, The Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009 8/3/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (8/5/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-50, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the “Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-51, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 601 8th Street in Freedom, Pennsylvania, as the “John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-52, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the “Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-53, The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-54, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the “Caroline O’Day Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-55, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 431 State Street in Ogdensburg, New York, as the “Frederic Remington Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-56, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 123 11th Avenue South in Nampa, Idaho, as the “Herbert A Littleton Postal Station” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-57, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1300 Matamoros Street in Laredo, Texas, as the “Laredo Veterans Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-58, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 702 East University Avenue in Georgetown, Texas, as the “Kyle G. West Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-59, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the “Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-60, To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-61, Recognizing the service, sacrifice, honor, and professionalism of the Noncommissioned Officers of the United States Army 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/09) No ‡
P.L. 111-62, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 8/7/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-63, The WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009 9/10/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/10/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-64, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of France A. Cordova as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 9/11/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/11/09) No ‡
P.L. 111-65, To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf 9/21/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/21/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-66, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 9/30/2009 No (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-67, The Defense Production Act Reauthorization of 2009 9/24/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/24/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-68, The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 No (10/1/2009)
and
(10/23/09)
No
P.L. 111-69, The Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 Yes (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-70, To amend the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 to reauthorize the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-71, To amend the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 to extend by one year the operation of Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-72, To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to delay the date on which the accreditation requirement under the Medicare Program applies to suppliers of durable medical equipment that are pharmacies 10/7/2009 10/13/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-73, The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 10/5/2009 10/15/2009 Yes (10/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-74, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at McKinley Avenue and Third Street, SW., Canton, Ohio, as the “Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-75, To designate the United States courthouse located at 525 Magoffin Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the “Albert Armendariz, Sr., United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-76, To provide for the transfer of certain Federal Property to the Galveston Historical Foundation 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-77, To designate the Federal building located at 844 North Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, as the “William O. Lipinski Federal Building” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-78, To designate the United States courthouse located at 301 Simonton Street in Key West, Florida, as the “Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-79, The Foreign Evidence Request Efficiency Act of 2009 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-80, The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/16/2009 10/21/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-81, The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 10/16/2009 10/22/2009 Yes (10/16/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-82, A bill to authorize major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes 10/15/2009 10/26/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-83, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 10/22/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-84, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 10/26/2009 10/28/2009 No (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-85, The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/21/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-86, The Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act 10/22/2009 10/29/2009 Yes (10/21/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-87, The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 10/26/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-88, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/28/2009)* No
P.L. 111-89, A bill to provide for additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/29/2009) No
P.L. 111-90, The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Amendments Act of 2009 10/22/2009 11/3/2009 Yes (10/22/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-91, The Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-92, The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 11/5/2009 11/6/2009 No (11/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-93, The Credit CARD Technical Corrections Act of 2009 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-94, Proclaiming Casimir Pulaski to be an honorary citizen of the United States posthumously 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-95, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to grant a Federal charter to the Military Officers Association of America, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-96, A bill to allow the funding for the interoperable emergency communications grant program established under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 to remain available until expended through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-97, The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes (11/4/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-98, A bill to authorize a major medical facility project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla, Walla, Washington, and for other purposes 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-99, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10355 Northeast Valley Road in Rollingbay, Washington, as the “John ‘Bud’ Hawk Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-100, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 37926 Church Street in Dade City, Florida, as the “Sergeant Marcus Mathes Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-101, To name the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture in Lane, Oklahoma, and the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 310 North Perry Street in Bennington, Oklahoma, in honor of former Congressman Wesley “Wes” Watkins 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-102, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4282 Beach Street in Akron, Michigan, as the “Akron Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-103, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 140 Merriman Road in Garden City, Michigan, as the “John J. Shivnen Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-104, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1615 North Wilcox Avenue in Los Angeles, California, as the “Johnny Grant Hollywood Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-105, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 115 West Edward Street in Erath, Louisiana, as the “Conrad DeRouen, Jr. Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-106, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 867 Stockton Street in San Francisco, California, as the “Lim Poon Lee Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-107, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1165 2nd Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, as the “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-108, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 936 South 250 East in Provo, Utah, as the “Rex E. Lee Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-109, A bill to redesignate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, California, as the “Cesar E. Chavez Post Office” 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-110, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 60 School Street, Orchard Park, New York, as the “Jack F. Kemp Post Office Building” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-111, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 630 Northeast Killingsworth Avenue in Portland, Oregon, as the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-112, A bill to extend the authority for relocation expenses test programs for Federal employees, and for other purposes 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-113, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to include in the Federal charter of the Reserve Officers Association leadership positions newly added in its constitution and bylaws 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-114, A bill to permit each current member of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to serve for 3 terms 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-115, To amend titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act to prohibit retroactive payments to individuals during periods for which such individuals are prisoners, fugitive felons, or probation or parole violators 12/14/2009 12/15/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-116, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes 12/14/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/14/2009) No
P.L. 111-117, Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/15/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/15/2009) No
P.L. 111-118, Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/19/2009 12/19/2009 No (12/19/2009) No
P.L. 111-119, A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews 12/9/2009 12/21/2009 Yes (12/11/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-120, To extend through December 31, 2010, the authority of the Secretary of the Army to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal public entities to expedite the processing of permits 12/14/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/14/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-121, Appointing the day for the convening of the second session of the One Hundred Eleventh Congress 12/16/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/16/2009 Yes
P.L. 111-122, A bill to establish a section within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to enforce human rights laws, to make technical and conforming amendments to criminal and immigration laws pertaining to human rights violations, and for other purposes 12/17/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/17/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-123, To permit continued financing of Government operations 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-124, To extend the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act, and for other purposes 12/23/2009 12/28/2009 Yes (12/23/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-125, To extend the commercial space transportation liability regime 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-126, To accelerate the income tax benefits for charitable cash contributions for the relief of victims of the earthquake in Haiti 01/22/2010 01/22/2010 No (01/22/2010) No
P.L. 111-127, The Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act 01/27/2010 01/27/2010 No n/a E! n/a E!
P.L. 111-128, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 116 North West Street in Somerville, Tennessee, as the “John S. Wilder Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-129, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 76 Brookside Avenue in Chester, New York, as the “1st Lieutenant Louis Allen Post Office” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-130, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 9810 Halls Ferry Road in St. Louis, Missouri, as the “Coach Jodie Bailey Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-131, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 440 South Gulling Street in Portola, California, as the “Army Specialist Jeremiah Paul McCleery Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-132, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 427 Harrison Avenue in Harrison, New Jersey, as the “Patricia D. McGinty-Juhl Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-133, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 16555 Springs Street in White Springs, Florida, as the “Clyde L. Hillhouse Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-134, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 170 North Main Street in Smithfield, Utah, as the “W. Hazen Hillyard Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-135, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3900 Darrow Road in Stow, Ohio, as the “Corporal Joseph A. Tomci Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-136, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 01/29/2010 01/29/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-137, To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes 01/20/2010 02/01/2010 Yes (01/20/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-138, A bill to provide that claims of the United States to certain documents relating to Franklin Delano Roosevelt shall be treated as waived and relinquished in certain circumstances 01/22/2010 02/01/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-139, Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt 02/04/2010 02/12/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-140, The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act 02/04/2010 02/16/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-141, An Act to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until February 28, 2011 02/26/2010 02/27/2010 No (02/26/2010) No
P.L. 111-142, The Social Security Disability Applicants’ Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010 02/25/2010 02/27/2010 No (02/25/2010) No
P.L. 111-143, The Criminal History Background Checks Pilot Extension Act of 2009 02/17/2010 03/01/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-144, The Temporary Extension Act of 2010 03/02/2010 03/02/2010 No (03/03/2010) No

* Page now gone, but it was either directly observed, evidence of it appears in a Whitehouse.gov search, or the White House says it existed.
† Bill was posted for five days after final passage, though not formal presentment. Counted as “Yes.”
‡ Link to final version of bill on impossible-to-find page.
E! Emergency legislation not subject to five-day posting

Is Government Transparency Headed for a Detour?

With a year in office, and perhaps under some pressure to deliver on promises of transparency and change, the White House went on a little PR offensive this week. It rolled out a blog post and a video claiming the transparency successes of the administration’s first year. A lot has gone on, and it’s worth a review. It’s also worth noting some signals that the government transparency project could be heading for a slight detour.

In the video — a little infomercial-y, but tolerable and interesting — federal chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra cites several examples of government use of technology. A system called ISDS Distribute helps the government monitor flu outbreaks, for example, akin to Google.org’s Flu Trends. Chopra touted the benefits of machine readability and the Agriculture Department’s release of data about a thousand most commonly eaten foods. (I’m not sure if this is it, but if not it’s probably something similar. Someone like Mike could use it to build a site that is further along than 1996’s state-of-the-art.) And Chopra discussed the platforms they are building at apps.gov to help agencies draw on the participation and engagement of the public. Putting aside how these illustrate the federal government’s distended role, these are all fine things.

White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen cited the release of visitor records as “one of the big innovations in the White House” over the past year. (Good, yes. But “big”?) Eisen dodged the question about why health care negotiations are not on C-SPAN.

In response to a question about putting federal advisory committees online, Chopra told of a recent meeting of the President’s Council of Advisers for Science and Technology, which was telecast live on the web and archived.

Finally, Chopra touted the planned January 22nd roll-out of data feeds from every federal agency under a recent open government memorandum — three “high-value data sets” per agency. In working toward this, Chopra said, “the conversation is all about what would help you do what you do better.  How can we advance our shared goals of reducing disparities in health care, improving our commitment  to renewable energies, advancing our collective educational results?”

This language and some of the examples cited in the video cause me to worry that the transparency effort may be heading for a detour. Rather than substantive insight into government management, deliberations, and results, we might get a lot of data-oriented play-toys.

According to the memorandum:

High-value information is information that can be used to increase agency accountability and responsiveness; improve public knowledge of the agency and its operations; further the core mission of the agency; create economic opportunity; or respond to need and demand as identified through public consultation.

That’s a very broad definition. Without more restraint than that, public choice economics predicts that the agencies will choose the data feeds with the greatest likelihood of increasing their discretionary budgets or the least likelihood of shrinking them. That’s data that “further[s] the core mission of the agency” and not data that “increase[s] agency accountability and responsiveness.” It’s the Ag Department’s calorie counts, not the Ag Department’s check register.

The kind of substance the transparency community expects is well represented in a  report issued jointly by the Center for Democracy and Technology and OpentheGovernment.org in March of last year. It’s called “Show Us the Data: Most Wanted Federal Documents,” and it asks for access to important research and governmental process information with the capacity to generate real insights into government and its operations.

Interesting data that the agency has collected or produced may be just that — interesting — but the heart of the government transparency effort is getting information about the functioning of government. Once we have these core elements of transparency captured, other data are absolutely good to have. But let the starting point be the workings of agencies themselves.

To help focus agencies on releasing the data that is high-value for genuine government transparency, I plan to examine the three data-streams each agency releases and grade the agencies on whether their releases provide insight into agency management, deliberations, or results.

As I examine the agency’s data feeds, I’ll use their proximity to true government transparency to assign them a letter grade, awarding them three points for each feed that has to do with management, deliberation, or results. These numerical scores — 9, 6, 3, or 0 — I’ll translate into grades: A, B, C, or D. (Nobody fails when the criteria only came out a week in advance.) F is reserved for agencies that don’t produce feeds.

This rubric for rating the data that agencies release seems reasonably objective, and a decent measure of which agencies are really responding to the demand for transparency and change, and which are pushing interesting data out as a smokescreen against deeper insights and reform. Hopefully, this effort at focusing agencies on true high-value data will see some uptake among my colleagues in the transparency community (if I haven’t alienated them with my endless harping on President Obama’s Sunlight Before Signing promise). Watch this space for agency grades shortly after the release of the feeds.

On C-SPAN: What’s a Little Promise Among Friends?

My, oh my. Transparency is getting defined down to excuse a breaking campaign promise.

At the Center for American Progress’ “Think Progress Wonk Room” blog (or whatever it’s called), Igor Volsky makes the case against allowing C-SPAN cameras into negotiations about the health care bill. Recall that President Obama promised on the campaign trail to have health care negotiations broadcast on C-SPAN.

“But if one actually considers the tone and tenor of the televised health care debate of 2009,” says Volsky, “filming the conference negotiations seems counterproductive.”

He does have a point. Television causes politicians to grandstand and doesn’t necessarily improve the legislative process.

But President Obama knew that when he made the promise, and he made the promise all the same. The credibility of the legislative process suffers from its overall opacity, and Candidate Obama promised different, starting with health care legislation — to progressives’ cheers as much as any other group.

Yet he appears to be walking away from that promise. And Volsky wants to abet him with a transparency caveat — only if it “improve[s] the underlying bill.”

Improvement is in the eye of the beholder, of course. This is not a welcome gloss. It’s bait and switch. “[T]he reality of politics doesn’t square with the promises of the campaign trail,” says Volsky.

Matt Yglesias’ short post backing his co-blogger is — appropriately, perhaps — opaque: “This is also an example of the concrete harm done to the country by politicians overestimating the impact of campaign tactics on election outcomes.” I don’t understand what that means.

Ezra Klein has the decency to say he’s conflicted. He admits that a transparent health care conference might be “better than nothing,” but he makes the same argument as Volsky: the process will change, but not necessarily for the better. No mention that this was a promise, or that the credibility of the president to marginal voters matters.

The argument that transparency is only useful if it leads to a better bill is reminiscent of Lawrence Lessig’s widely panned essay “Against Transparency.” I wrote of it:

Lessig sets up an interesting premise indeed: What he calls the “naked transparency movement” — unvarnished access to government data — “is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system off the cliff.”

Yes, Lessig has “change” and “pushing faith in our political system off the cliff” in opposition. So, the only thing that qualifies as “change” is improving faith in our political system? This pegged my bs detector.

These commentators have sounder premises, of course. They want transparency to improve legislation.

But transparency is not simply a means to better bills. It’s a means to better politicians — when people see one leader being smart and fair, while others are not. It’s a means to a better organized society — if people decide that politicians aren’t as qualified to apportion society’s resources as they thought. It’s a means to better-run programs — when people compare the dollars going in with the results coming out. Heck, transparency is a civics lesson for high school students! There is a transparency vision that these commentators eschew in favor of the status quo.

Even good John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation, an organization dedicated to transparency, kicks the ground and mumbles about televising conference committees not being a panacea. The promise was to broadcast “negotiations,” of course, not just the formal meeting of any conference committee. And one of the commenters on his post has the better of it. “Open [conference committees] are not a panacea, but they are one tent-pole,” says Sarah Welsh of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. Her state mandated open conference committess last year, for the good.

And it was a campaign promise.

“The public should have ample opportunity to review the final product before the vote,” Igor Volsky says. Which brings us to another promise: On the campaign trail, Candidate Obama said, “[W]hen there is a bill that ends up on my desk as a president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it, so that you know what your government’s doing.”

The president is currently six for 124 on that promise, having shown recent improvement. But one has to wonder how Volsky would caveat away that promise and further define down government transparency.

One to watch: President Obama’s promise to “go line by line” over earmarks, which OMB has said it will implement by collecting and databasing Congressmembers’ earmark requests in the FY 2011 budget cycle.

Sunlight Before Signing: Obama Racks Up the Wins!

I’ve covered President Obama’s “Sunlight Before Signing” campaign promise here many times before. And, as predicted when I last reported, Obama has turned the corner and begun giving bills some sunlight.

In December, five bills were posted on Whitehouse.gov for five days before the president signed them. (Technically, they were only linked to from Whitehouse.gov, but the link allowed citizens to find the text of bills awaiting his signature—the substance of the promise.)

Those five join the DTV Delay Act, Public Law 111-4, to make six out of 124. That’s a .048 batting average on Sunlight Before Signing, a huge rise from the .009 average he had after signing P.L. 111-118.

After the jump, you can see the latest SBS chart. I expect that President Obama’s average will continue to rise as more bills see the public airing he promised when he campaigned for the presidency.

Public Law Date Presented Date Signed Five Days? Posted (Linked)? Posted Five Days?
P.L. 111-2, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No 1/29/2009* No
P.L. 111-3, The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 2/4/2009 2/4/2009 No (2/1/2009)* No
P.L. 111-4, The DTV Delay Act 2/9/2009 2/11/2009 No 2/5/2009* Yes †
P.L. 111-5, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 2/16/2009 2/17/2009 No (2/13/2009)* No
P.L. 111-6, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes 3/6/2009 3/6/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-7, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the “Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building” 2/26/09 3/9/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-8, The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 3/11/2009 3/11/2009 No (3/5/2009)* No
P.L. 111-9, To extend certain immigration programs 3/18/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-10, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 3/19/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-11, The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 3/30/2009 3/30/2009 No (3/27/2009)* No
P.L. 111-12, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009 3/24/2009 3/30/2009 Yes (3/24/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-13, The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act 4/20/2009 4/21/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-14, To designate the United States courthouse under construction at 327 South Church Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the “Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse” 4/14/2009 4/23/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-15, The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 4/14/2009 4/24/2009 Yes (3/27/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-16, The Statutory Time-Periods Technical Amendments Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-17, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of David M. Rubenstein as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 4/28/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-18, A bill to repeal section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the “Bennett Freeze” 4/28/2009 5/8/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-19, The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/12/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-20, The Protecting Incentives for the Adoption of Children with Special Needs Act of 2009 5/5/2009 5/15/2009 Yes (5/5/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-21, The FERA 5/19/2009 5/20/2009 No (5/15/2009)* No
P.L. 111-22, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No (5/20/2009)* No
P.L. 111-23, The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 5/21/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/14/2009* No
P.L. 111-24, The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/15/2009* No
P.L. 111-25, The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act 5/21/2009 6/2/2009 Yes (5/28/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-26, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 12877 Broad Street in Sparta, Georgia, as the “Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-27, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 East 3rd Street in Jamestown, New York, as the “Stan Lundine Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-28, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-29, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3245 Latta Road in Rochester, New York, as the “Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-30, The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 Extension Act 6/19/2009 6/19/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-31, The Family Smoking Prevention andTobacco Control Act 6/16/2009 6/22/2009 Yes (6/12/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-32, The Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 6/19/2009 6/24/2009 Yes (5/20/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-33, The Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 6/16/2009 6/26/2009 Yes (6/16/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-34, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the “J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-35, To designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the “Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-36, The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-37, The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 6/25/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/25/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-38, A bill to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 6/24/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-39, To make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes 6/26/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/26/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-40, A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (”WASP”) 6/24/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/29/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-41, The Korean War Veterans Recognition Act 7/27/2009 7/27/2009 No (7/25/2009)* No
P.L. 111-42, Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 7/28/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-43, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 7/30/2009 7/31/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-44, The New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-45, To authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-46, To restore sums to the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes 8/4/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/09) No
P.L. 111-47, Making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program 8/6/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-48, The Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act 7/31/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (7/31/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-49, The Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009 8/3/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (8/5/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-50, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the “Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-51, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 601 8th Street in Freedom, Pennsylvania, as the “John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-52, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the “Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-53, The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-54, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the “Caroline O’Day Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-55, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 431 State Street in Ogdensburg, New York, as the “Frederic Remington Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-56, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 123 11th Avenue South in Nampa, Idaho, as the “Herbert A Littleton Postal Station” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-57, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1300 Matamoros Street in Laredo, Texas, as the “Laredo Veterans Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-58, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 702 East University Avenue in Georgetown, Texas, as the “Kyle G. West Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-59, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the “Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-60, To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-61, Recognizing the service, sacrifice, honor, and professionalism of the Noncommissioned Officers of the United States Army 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/09) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-62, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 8/7/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-63, The WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009 9/10/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/10/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-64, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of France A. Cordova as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 9/11/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/11/09) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-65, To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf 9/21/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/21/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-66, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 9/30/2009 No (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-67, The Defense Production Act Reauthorization of 2009 9/24/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/24/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-68, The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 No (10/1/2009)
and
(10/23/09)
No
P.L. 111-69, The Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 Yes (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-70, To amend the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 to reauthorize the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-71, To amend the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 to extend by one year the operation of Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-72, To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to delay the date on which the accreditation requirement under the Medicare Program applies to suppliers of durable medical equipment that are pharmacies 10/7/2009 10/13/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-73, The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 10/5/2009 10/15/2009 Yes (10/2/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-74, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at McKinley Avenue and Third Street, SW., Canton, Ohio, as the “Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-75, To designate the United States courthouse located at 525 Magoffin Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the “Albert Armendariz, Sr., United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-76, To provide for the transfer of certain Federal Property to the Galveston Historical Foundation 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-77, To designate the Federal building located at 844 North Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, as the “William O. Lipinski Federal Building” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-78, To designate the United States courthouse located at 301 Simonton Street in Key West, Florida, as the “Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-79, The Foreign Evidence Request Efficiency Act of 2009 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-80, The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/16/2009 10/21/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-81, The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 10/16/2009 10/22/2009 Yes (10/16/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-82, A bill to authorize major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes 10/15/2009 10/26/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-83, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 10/22/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-84, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 10/26/2009 10/28/2009 No (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-85, The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/21/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-86, The Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act 10/22/2009 10/29/2009 Yes (10/21/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-87, The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 10/26/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-88, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/28/2009)* No
P.L. 111-89, A bill to provide for additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/29/2009) No
P.L. 111-90, The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Amendments Act of 2009 10/22/2009 11/3/2009 Yes (10/22/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-91, The Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-92, The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 11/5/2009 11/6/2009 No (11/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-93, The Credit CARD Technical Corrections Act of 2009 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-94, Proclaiming Casimir Pulaski to be an honorary citizen of the United States posthumously 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-95, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to grant a Federal charter to the Military Officers Association of America, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-96, A bill to allow the funding for the interoperable emergency communications grant program established under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 to remain available until expended through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-97, The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes (11/4/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-98, A bill to authorize a major medical facility project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla, Walla, Washington, and for other purposes 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-99, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10355 Northeast Valley Road in Rollingbay, Washington, as the “John ‘Bud’ Hawk Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-100, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 37926 Church Street in Dade City, Florida, as the “Sergeant Marcus Mathes Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-101, To name the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture in Lane, Oklahoma, and the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 310 North Perry Street in Bennington, Oklahoma, in honor of former Congressman Wesley “Wes” Watkins 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-102, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4282 Beach Street in Akron, Michigan, as the “Akron Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-103, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 140 Merriman Road in Garden City, Michigan, as the “John J. Shivnen Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-104, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1615 North Wilcox Avenue in Los Angeles, California, as the “Johnny Grant Hollywood Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-105, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 115 West Edward Street in Erath, Louisiana, as the “Conrad DeRouen, Jr. Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-106, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 867 Stockton Street in San Francisco, California, as the “Lim Poon Lee Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-107, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1165 2nd Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, as the “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-108, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 936 South 250 East in Provo, Utah, as the “Rex E. Lee Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-109, A bill to redesignate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, California, as the “Cesar E. Chavez Post Office” 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-110, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 60 School Street, Orchard Park, New York, as the “Jack F. Kemp Post Office Building” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-111, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 630 Northeast Killingsworth Avenue in Portland, Oregon, as the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-112, A bill to extend the authority for relocation expenses test programs for Federal employees, and for other purposes 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-113, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to include in the Federal charter of the Reserve Officers Association leadership positions newly added in its constitution and bylaws 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-114, A bill to permit each current member of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to serve for 3 terms 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-115, To amend titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act to prohibit retroactive payments to individuals during periods for which such individuals are prisoners, fugitive felons, or probation or parole violators 12/14/2009 12/15/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-116, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes 12/14/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/14/2009) No
P.L. 111-117, Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/15/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/15/2009) No
P.L. 111-118, Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/19/2009 12/19/2009 No (12/19/2009) No
P.L. 111-119, A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews 12/9/2009 12/21/2009 Yes (12/11/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-120, To extend through December 31, 2010, the authority of the Secretary of the Army to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal public entities to expedite the processing of permits 12/14/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/14/2009)
Yes
P.L. 111-121, Appointing the day for the convening of the second session of the One Hundred Eleventh Congress 12/16/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/16/2009 Yes
P.L. 111-122, A bill to establish a section within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to enforce human rights laws, to make technical and conforming amendments to criminal and immigration laws pertaining to human rights violations, and for other purposes 12/17/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/17/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-123, To permit continued financing of Government operations 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-124, To extend the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act, and for other purposes 12/23/2009 12/28/2009 Yes (12/23/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-125, To extend the commercial space transportation liability regime 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No

* Page now gone, but it was either directly observed, evidence of it appears in Whitehouse.gov search, or White House says it existed.
† Bill was posted for five days after final passage, though not formal presentment. Counted as “Yes.”
‡ Link to final version of bill on impossible-to-find page.

Sunlight Before Signing: Turning the Corner!

As I noted on Monday, the White House has begun posting the bills Congress sends down Pennsylvania Avenue so they can get a final public review. This was a promise President Obama made on the campaign trail.

The posting of bills actually began some time ago. I mistakenly believed that a promise administration officials made to the New York Timeshad been broken. But with no link trail leading from the Whitehouse.gov homepage to the posted bills, there was no way to find them. This was only technical sunlight, not the actual warming, disinfecting rays the president promised. So, sadly, we can’t put the many bills that got posted this way in the “win” column.

With a link on the homepage pointing to bills awaiting the president’s signature, a new era in Sunlight Before Signing is about to dawn. The White House’s current dismal SBS percentage (1 for 114, or .009) will be rising soon, and could ultimately be quite high!

Did the administration fail to execute on this simple promise from the beginning? Yes. But the good news is that we’re going to see implementation: average Americans will get a look at the bills that come to the president’s desk before he signs them, with an opportunity to say their piece.

That’s simple transparency, and as I’ve articulated elsewhere it will have salutary effects, reducing last-minute shenanigans in Congress.

Before we take a look at the full Sunlight Before Signing chart, here are some of the numbers:

  • President Obama has signed 114 bills into law.
  • Of those, 86, or 75%, have been held at the White House for five or more days as a matter of course. Simply posting them accessibly on Whitehouse.gov for comment would have fulfilled the president’s pledge.
  • Forty-seven bills (41%) have been posted on Whitehouse.gov for five days, but without links leading visitors or search engines to them, they can’t be counted as fulfillments of the Sunlight Before Signing promise.
  • One bill has been posted online for for five days, accessible to the public for their review, before receiving the president’s signature: The DTV Delay Act, Public Law 111-4.

Without further ado, the chart that lays out the Obama administration’s Sunlight Before Signing record so far:

Public Law Date Presented Date Signed Five Days? Posted (Linked)? Posted Five Days?
P.L. 111-2, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No 1/29/2009* No
P.L. 111-3, The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 2/4/2009 2/4/2009 No (2/1/2009)* No
P.L. 111-4, The DTV Delay Act 2/9/2009 2/11/2009 No 2/5/2009* Yes and No †
P.L. 111-5, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 2/16/2009 2/17/2009 No (2/13/2009)* No
P.L. 111-6, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes 3/6/2009 3/6/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-7, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the “Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building” 2/26/09 3/9/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-8, The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 3/11/2009 3/11/2009 No (3/5/2009)* No
P.L. 111-9, To extend certain immigration programs 3/18/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-10, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 3/19/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-11, The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 3/30/2009 3/30/2009 No (3/27/2009)* No
P.L. 111-12, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009 3/24/2009 3/30/2009 Yes (3/24/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-13, The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act 4/20/2009 4/21/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-14, To designate the United States courthouse under construction at 327 South Church Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the “Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse” 4/14/2009 4/23/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-15, The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 4/14/2009 4/24/2009 Yes (3/27/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-16, The Statutory Time-Periods Technical Amendments Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-17, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of David M. Rubenstein as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 4/28/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-18, A bill to repeal section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the “Bennett Freeze” 4/28/2009 5/8/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-19, The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/12/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-20, The Protecting Incentives for the Adoption of Children with Special Needs Act of 2009 5/5/2009 5/15/2009 Yes (5/5/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-21, The FERA 5/19/2009 5/20/2009 No (5/15/2009)* No
P.L. 111-22, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No (5/20/2009)* No
P.L. 111-23, The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 5/21/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/14/2009* No
P.L. 111-24, The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/15/2009* No
P.L. 111-25, The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act 5/21/2009 6/2/2009 Yes (5/28/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-26, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 12877 Broad Street in Sparta, Georgia, as the “Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-27, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 East 3rd Street in Jamestown, New York, as the “Stan Lundine Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-28, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-29, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3245 Latta Road in Rochester, New York, as the “Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-30, The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 Extension Act 6/19/2009 6/19/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-31, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act 6/16/2009 6/22/2009 Yes (6/12/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-32, The Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 6/19/2009 6/24/2009 Yes (5/20/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-33, The Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 6/16/2009 6/26/2009 Yes (6/16/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-34, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the “J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-35, To designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the “Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-36, The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-37, The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 6/25/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/25/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-38, A bill to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 6/24/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-39, To make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes 6/26/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/26/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-40, A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (”WASP”) 6/24/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/29/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-41, The Korean War Veterans Recognition Act 7/27/2009 7/27/2009 No (7/25/2009)* No
P.L. 111-42, Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 7/28/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-43, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 7/30/2009 7/31/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-44, The New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-45, To authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-46, To restore sums to the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes 8/4/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/09) No
P.L. 111-47, Making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program 8/6/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-48, The Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act 7/31/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (7/31/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-49, The Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009 8/3/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (8/5/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-50, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the “Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-51, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 601 8th Street in Freedom, Pennsylvania, as the “John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-52, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the “Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-53, The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-54, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the “Caroline O’Day Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-55, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 431 State Street in Ogdensburg, New York, as the “Frederic Remington Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-56, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 123 11th Avenue South in Nampa, Idaho, as the “Herbert A Littleton Postal Station” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-57, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1300 Matamoros Street in Laredo, Texas, as the “Laredo Veterans Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-58, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 702 East University Avenue in Georgetown, Texas, as the “Kyle G. West Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-59, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the “Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-60, To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-61, Recognizing the service, sacrifice, honor, and professionalism of the Noncommissioned Officers of the United States Army 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/09) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-62, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 8/7/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-63, The WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009 9/10/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/10/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-64, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of France A. Cordova as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 9/11/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/11/09) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-65, To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf 9/21/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/21/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-66, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 9/30/2009 No (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-67, The Defense Production Act Reauthorization of 2009 9/24/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/24/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-68, The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 No (10/1/2009)
and
(10/23/09)
No
P.L. 111-69, The Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 Yes (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-70, To amend the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 to reauthorize the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-71, To amend the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 to extend by one year the operation of Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-72, To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to delay the date on which the accreditation requirement under the Medicare Program applies to suppliers of durable medical equipment that are pharmacies 10/7/2009 10/13/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-73, The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 10/5/2009 10/15/2009 Yes (10/2/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-74, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at McKinley Avenue and Third Street, SW., Canton, Ohio, as the “Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-75, To designate the United States courthouse located at 525 Magoffin Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the “Albert Armendariz, Sr., United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-76, To provide for the transfer of certain Federal Property to the Galveston Historical Foundation 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-77, To designate the Federal building located at 844 North Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, as the “William O. Lipinski Federal Building” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-78, To designate the United States courthouse located at 301 Simonton Street in Key West, Florida, as the “Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-79, The Foreign Evidence Request Efficiency Act of 2009 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-80, The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/16/2009 10/21/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-81, The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 10/16/2009 10/22/2009 Yes (10/16/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-82, A bill to authorize major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes 10/15/2009 10/26/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-83, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 10/22/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-84, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 10/26/2009 10/28/2009 No (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-85, The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/21/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-86, The Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act 10/22/2009 10/29/2009 Yes (10/21/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-87, The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 10/26/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/21/2009) No
P.L. 111-88, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/28/2009)* No
P.L. 111-89, A bill to provide for additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/29/2009) No
P.L. 111-90, The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Amendments Act of 2009 10/22/2009 11/3/2009 Yes (10/22/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-91, The Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-92, The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 11/5/2009 11/6/2009 No (11/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-93, The Credit CARD Technical Corrections Act of 2009 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-94, Proclaiming Casimir Pulaski to be an honorary citizen of the United States posthumously 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-95, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to grant a Federal charter to the Military Officers Association of America, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-96, A bill to allow the funding for the interoperable emergency communications grant program established under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 to remain available until expended through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-97, The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes (11/4/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-98, A bill to authorize a major medical facility project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla, Walla, Washington, and for other purposes 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-99, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10355 Northeast Valley Road in Rollingbay, Washington, as the “John ‘Bud’ Hawk Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-100, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 37926 Church Street in Dade City, Florida, as the “Sergeant Marcus Mathes Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-101, To name the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture in Lane, Oklahoma, and the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 310 North Perry Street in Bennington, Oklahoma, in honor of former Congressman Wesley “Wes” Watkins 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-102, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4282 Beach Street in Akron, Michigan, as the “Akron Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-103, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 140 Merriman Road in Garden City, Michigan, as the “John J. Shivnen Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-104, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1615 North Wilcox Avenue in Los Angeles, California, as the “Johnny Grant Hollywood Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-105, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 115 West Edward Street in Erath, Louisiana, as the “Conrad DeRouen, Jr. Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-106, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 867 Stockton Street in San Francisco, California, as the “Lim Poon Lee Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-107, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1165 2nd Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, as the “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-108, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 936 South 250 East in Provo, Utah, as the “Rex E. Lee Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-109, A bill to redesignate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, California, as the “Cesar E. Chavez Post Office” 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-110, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 60 School Street, Orchard Park, New York, as the “Jack F. Kemp Post Office Building” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-111, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 630 Northeast Killingsworth Avenue in Portland, Oregon, as the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-112, A bill to extend the authority for relocation expenses test programs for Federal employees, and for other purposes 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-113, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to include in the Federal charter of the Reserve Officers Association leadership positions newly added in its constitution and bylaws 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-114, A bill to permit each current member of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to serve for 3 terms 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) Yes and No ‡
P.L. 111-115, To amend titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act to prohibit retroactive payments to individuals during periods for which such individuals are prisoners, fugitive felons, or probation or parole violators 12/14/2009 12/15/2009 No No No

* Page now gone.

† Bill was posted for five days after final passage, though not formal presentment.

‡ Link to final version of bill on impossible-to-find page.

Sunlight Before Signing Progress: Whitehouse.gov Encourages Public Comment

The White House’s web site, Whitehouse.gov, has begun posting the bills Congress sends down Pennsylvania Avenue so they can get a final public review. This actually began some time ago, but a link from the home page now directs visitors (and search engines) to the bills that await the president’s signature.

This is an important step toward fulfilling President Obama’s campaign promise to post the bills he receives from Congress online for five days before he signs them. I’ve written about it several times, most recently here.

Take a look for yourself: On the Whitehouse.gov home page, a link at the bottom of the “Featured Legislation” column says “Comment on Pending Legislation.”

Currently, four bills are listed there, arranged in order by the dates they were posted. The final language isn’t posted at the link, and it takes a little sophistication to find the final version at the linked-to page on the Thomas system, but this is substantial progress.

Kudos to the White House for moving toward full implementation of President Obama’s Sunlight Before Signing promise.

On Transparency, Talk Trumps Action

In the heady first days of the administration, President Obama issued a memorandum on transparency and open government that seemed it would set the ship of state on a course for transparency, participation, and collaboration. Many people expected that within the 120-day time-frame stated in the memo, the administration would issue the “Open Government Directive” it called for.

Well, 120 days from January 21 was May 21—and 200 days after that, we are finally going to see that open government plan. An announcement of it will be streamed live on the White House web site at 11:00 am.

It turns out that administrators didn’t fall woefully behind on President Obama’s instructions. His memorandum directed the not-yet-appointed Chief Technology Officer and others “to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive …” It was an instruction to coordinate on the writing of a directive, and within 120 days, people were surely coordinating.

Given the exciting campaign mantra of “change,” one could forgive people expecting the administration to set its course for good governance early. How un-change-like it is that nearly a quarter of the way through President Obama’s term (an eighth if he’s reelected), with old habits established and unlikely to be dislodged, we finally get that “open government plan.”

If only this good-government priority had been pursued as steadfastly as President Obama’s big-government priorities.

While coordinating and planning has gone on, President Obama has specifically declined to carry out an open government promise he made on the campaign trail. In fact, more than 100 times since he has been in office, he has declined to post online the bills sent him by Congress for five days of public review before he signs them. I’ll put up a new chart covering all the laws President Obama has signed sans sunlight later today.

Since I last wrote about this favorite topic, I learned of a new development, however. At some point earlier this year, the White House began posting links on Whitehouse.gov to bills that were heading its direction, a half-measure the White House told the New York Times it would take.

I failed to notice the existence of these pages, but I think it is forgivable error. There is no uniform structure to them, and there is no link I can discover on Whitehouse.gov that would bring anyone to them.

Based on my spot-checking, they haven’t been crawled by any search engine, so the only way a person could find them is by searching on Whitehouse.gov for phrases on the yet unseen pages or by searching the House or Senate bill numbers of bills that you know to look for because they have already passed into law.

This doesn’t fulfill the spirit of the Sunlight Before Signing pledge. It doesn’t give the public an opportunity to review final bills and comment before the president signs them. I doubt if a single one of the people who cheered when President Obama made his Sunlight Before Signing pledge has visited one of these pages and commented to the president as he told them they would be able to do.

There are further curiosities: The pages themselves are undated, but their “posted” dates, which appear in search results, are sometimes well beyond the date on which they became law. A Whitehouse.gov search for H.R. 2131, which became Public Law 111-70 on October 9th, shows that it was posted for comment on October 23rd.

Today the White House announces plans for dramatic steps forward on government transparency. But the steps it could have taken starting on day one remain promises unfulfilled. President Obama’s “Sunlight Before Signing” campaign pledge breaks every time he signs a bill without posting its final version at Whitehouse.gov for five days of public review before signing it.