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A tale of journalism innovation and collaboration: Several years ago, the @Publici state politics team started to realize there were a lot of special interests pushing copycat bills state-by-state.
Through a lot of grunt work, @Publici reporters found such "model legislation" by hand. For example, @abalcerzak found state legislators pushing a #ConstitutionalConvention with language pushed by @ALEC_states, the original model legislation king…
But it wasn't just ALEC. @nkus uncovered how Big Tobacco was pushing similar bills across the country for e-cigarettes:…
And @l_e_whyte found drugmakers were shopping around "model legislation" for a profitable yet questionable solution to the opioid epidemic…
All this was illuminating but involved labor-intensive digging. We wondered: Is there a way to use technology to help spot such "model legislation"?
A brilliant team at the University of Chicago had already tried this with the
Legislative Influence Detector:
With @zubakskees' deep data skills leading the way, @Publici embarked on building a new "model legislation" tracker that could analyze the more than 100,000 state bills introduced nationwide each year in *real time.* Intrepid news developer @pratheekrebala got to work.
Using the early iterations of this tracker helped @ruikaneya see how the NBA and MLB were using such legislation to seek a slice of sports betting profits after years of fighting gambling expansion…
But we knew the tracker could uncover even more. At the same time, a cracker jack team at @azcentral was trying to do the same thing. Same difficult computational problem, different approach.
So @Gannett and @Publici joined forces to create even more powerful journalism than we could have alone. And today, the Copy, Paste Legislate series debuts on the front page of @USATODAY…
Here's how these "model bills" affect us all. @ruikaneya shows how autodealers are pushing bills in statehouses to allow dealers to sell defective used cars…
There's lots more to explore in the series:… And more great stories are coming.
And today, here's @USATODAY's front page as the #CopyPasteLegislate series continues, with @Publici's @ruikaneya piece about what used car buyers need to know about recalls when they go to the car lot:…
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