Bill actions (status, chamber)


I have a number of questions regarding bill actions:

  1. Is the classification for action standardized? If so, where is the list of “action types”?
  2. Could actions have a chamber tag, which would be either “upper”, “lower”, or “governor”? (I guess unicameral cases could have “legislature” and “governor”…) This really helps determine when a bill moves from one chamber to another.
  3. The organization field on a BillActionNode appears to always be the state’s legislature, even when the Governor is signing a bill into law; I haven’t found a case where either the upper or lower chambers are the associated organization.
    • This seems unintuitive for a Governor’s action to have Legislature as the associated organization; is there a rationale behind this decision?
    • Have I not looked hard enough (very possible)? Are there bills who have actions with an associated organization that isn’t the Legislature?

  1. Is the classification for action standardized? Yes – here’s the full list
  2. Chamber – Actions have an organization_id key that in practice provides that – In theory we could assign another org as an actor, hence the extra layer there instead of just having chamber.
  3. The organization field on a BillActionNode appears to always be the state’s legislature Which data are you looking at for this? API? If so, which API version and jurisdiction?

I’m looking at some recent scrapes the the organization usually looks like "organization_id": "~{\"classification\": \"lower\"}", although this varies a bit by state. That’s getting set by the “add_action()” calls in in each state, so happy to accept pull requests there if we’re getting it wrong.

Governor actions should be associated w/ the executive, can you provide me with some examples there too? I these are a relatively recent addition to the classification system, so they were slightly shoehorned into the data model.

Edit just saw this was posted to the API v2 forum – @james mind taking a look?


Hello, thanks for the prompt reply :slight_smile:

Awesome, thank you.

I was looking at Hawaii’s bills (see, e.g., bill with id "ocd-bill/9c24aaa2-6acc-43ad-883b-ae9f677062e9"), but more recently updated bills (updated after 22 December 2017) have appropriate organization nodes on the action…well, upper and lower chambers at least.

"Executive" Actions Don’t Seem to have “executive” organization. I still haven’t found an “executive” action (e.g., an executive-signature action) with the appropriate "executive" organization, e.g., New York bill with id "ocd-bill/261e1e71-e866-4a76-9b33-1aef0afac06d" has its signature action:

            "order": 18,
            "date": "2017-07-25",
            "description": "SIGNED CHAP.112",
            "classification": [
            "organization": {
              "name": "Assembly",
              "classification": "lower"

From a sample of a couple hundred New York bills, this was common (that the organization associated to a executive-signature action is either upper or lower, but not the “executive”).

California bill AB 40 (id "ocd-bill/a5491b7b-442b-450c-a66a-cc1a9a2148d7") has its signature action be:

            "order": 33,
            "date": "2017-10-09",
            "description": "Approved by the Governor.",
            "classification": [
            "organization": {
              "name": "California State Legislature",
              "classification": "legislature"

This is fairly representative of California (at least, from a few hundred samples I’ve seen).