Approximately 60 bioenergy-related bills were introduced in Congress in 2013, and 10 proceeded to a vote. Where did your congressmen and congresswomen stand? You can easily find out with the Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework’s (Bioenergy KDF’s) new Legislative Library—a database resource released today by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).
The Legislative Library is a new development of the recently revamped Bioenergy KDF, which was rereleased by BETO in September 2013 with the goal of providing users with a more functional, intuitive, and appealing site. With the addition of the Legislative Library, users can track federal legislation proposed in the 112th and 113th Congresses (i.e., the current and most recently passed sessions of Congress) relevant to the production and use of biofuels in the United States. Specifically, the database allows users to filter search results by congressional session, political party, state, chamber, or status to learn about the work being carried out by specific members and committees to advance the U.S. biofuels industry. Additionally, the library provides links to full-text versions of the bills and other relevant websites so users can access more in-depth information about the legislators and policies that interest them.
Just Now Hearing about the Bioenergy KDF?
BETO initially launched the Bioenergy KDF in January 2011 as a tool to support the development of a sustainable bioenergy industry. Achieving this goal requires thorough knowledge integration and decision support, which is exactly what the Bioenergy KDF provides. The site is an information-sharing network, online collaboration toolkit, and data resource that facilitates informed decision making by providing a full range of stakeholders—including researchers, policy makers, industry, and the public—with a means to access, contribute, synthesize, analyze, and visualize vast amounts of bioenergy information in a spatially integrated manner.
To this end, the Bioenergy KDF houses four main features: (1) the Bioenergy Library, which contains hundreds of publications, data sets, and models submitted by bioenergy researchers; (2) the Map interface, which allows users to add and visualize data sets, run analyses and comparisons, and download and export geospatial information; (3) a specialized collection of Tools & Applications, which can be launched directly on the Map to simulate different scenarios; and (4) the newly released Legislative Library.
The Legislative Library: Viewing Legislators, Bills, and Committees
The Bioenergy KDF’s Legislative Library is organized into three sections, described in detail below, to offer users an optimal search experience.
The Bioenergy KDF Legislative Library landing page.
In the “Legislators” section of the library, users can look up state senators and representatives to see what activities they’ve been involved with in the area of bioenergy. Users have the ability to filter results by congressional session, political party, state, and chamber.
In the “Related Bills” section of the library, users can search for bioenergy-related bills and filter results by session, chamber (House or Senate), and status—whether the bill was just introduced, had a hearing, reached a mark-up session, was put to a vote, or got elevated to the President’s desk. Links are also provided to full-text versions of each bill through Congress.gov; to the bills’ status through govtrack.us (including a breakdown of votes for bills that have reached this stage); and to the primary sponsor’s official website.
In the “Committees” section of the library, users can select a Senate or House committee related to bioenergy, see which legislators make up the committee, and see what bills they have sponsored. Like the other components of the database, users can click on the additional links provided to learn more about the bills and their sponsoring legislators.
With the recent launch of the Legislative Library, anyone interested in bioenergy can keep better track of relevant legislation in Congress. BETO intends for this new resource to make the Bioenergy KDF an even more effective resource to connect the policy world and the public to the bioenergy supply chain.
To learn more about what the Bioenergy KDF has to offer, read the fact sheet and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.