- Legislative directory – Yes, it has a full Texas legislative directory, with photos, contacts, websites, and more. Pretty standard stuff, really, except for everything else it adds…
- Historical partisanship charts – observe how Republicans and Democrats have grown apart over the years. Where does your legislator fit in to this trend? Just look for the green line. Depending on the length of service, some legislators have historical trends dating back to the early 1990s. To my knowledge, no one has produced anything so comprehensive and yet so easy to understand, at least not on a mobile device, and certainly not for the Texas Legislature, until now. To calculate these partisanship scores, I use some advanced dimensional scaling analysis.
- Campaign contributions – We have contribution data, thanks to the generosity of the National Institute on Money in State Politics. You can see each legislator’s largest contributors over the past ten years. Want more? Click on each contributor to see who their biggest recipients are. Feel free to follow that money trail until the cows come home (or your device runs out of memory).
- Everybody knows the committee system is the workhorse of any legislative body. TexLege provides a full membership list of each of the committees in the House and Senate. It also includes easy-to-interpret partisanship scales for the members, along with an aggregate partisanship balance scale for the committee as a whole. For instance, have a gander at the Senate Redistricting Committee’s partisanship scale … a picture’s worth a thousand words, right? What do you see?
- So everybody’s seen Google Maps and you’ve most likely seen the Maps application for iOS devices, too. What could be more useful to a politico than a handy map that shows you the legislative district boundaries? Cute yes, but TexLege also uses some fancy math to triangulate your current geographic position (using GPS, WiFi, or cellular signals) and show your current legislative districts and your representatives, live and in real-time. Again, to my knowledge, this is an iOS first. Not good enough? Tap and hold your finger anywhere on the map of Texas to see who represents that area. You can also tap and hold on the purple pin to pick it up and move it to another location to call up other districts.
- Committee meeting schedules – explore an interactive calendar of upcoming committee meetings, or perform a quick search of committee titles to see what’s available. Found a meeting you want to attend? On devices running iOS 4 or later, you can easily add that event to your iCal calendar.
- And rounding out the feature list are the building and office maps that prompted this app’s development to begin with a couple of years ago. There’s also a list of useful web resources for folks looking for more information on the legislature or politics in Texas.