Decisions on state-level policies have a deep effect on many aspects of our everyday life, such as health-care and education access. However, there is little understanding of how these policies and decisions are being formed in the legislative process. We take a data-driven approach by decoding the impact of legislation on relevant stakeholders (e.g., teachers in education bills) to understand legislators’ decision-making process and votes. We build a new dataset for multiple US states that interconnects multiple sources of data including bills, stakeholders, legislators, and money donors. Next, we develop a textual graph-based model to embed and analyze state bills. Our model predicts winners/losers of bills and then utilizes them to better determine the legislative body’s vote breakdown according to demographic/ideological criteria, e.g., gender.
While national politics often receive the spotlight, the overwhelming majority of legislation proposed, discussed, and enacted is done at the state level. Despite this fact, there is little awareness of the dynamics that lead to adopting these policies. In this paper, we take the first step towards a better understanding of these processes and the underlying dynamics that shape them, using data-driven methods. We build a new large-scale dataset, from multiple data sources, connecting state bills and legislator information, geographical information about their districts, and donations and donors’ information. We suggest a novel task, predicting the legislative body’s vote breakdown for a given bill, according to different criteria of interest, such as gender, rural-urban and ideological splits. Finally, we suggest a shared relational embedding model, representing the interactions between the text of the bill and the legislative context in which it is presented. Our experiments show that providing this context helps improve the prediction over strong text-based models.