Feature Engineering for US State Legislative Hearings: Stance, Affiliation, Engagement and Absentees

Josh Grace and Foaad Khosmood
Non refereed paper

In US State government legislatures, most of the activity occurs in committees made up of lawmakers discussing bills. When analyzing, classifying or summarizing these committee proceedings, some important features become broadly interesting. In this paper, we engineer four useful features, two applying to lawmakers (engagement and absence), and two to non-lawmakers (stance and affiliation). We propose a system to automatically track the affiliation of organizations in public comments and whether the organizational representative supports or opposes the bill.