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Appetizers: Congress phone app sheds sunlight on bills and lawmakers

The Congress app gives you info on the

The Congress app gives you info on the people who represent you in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and lets you track their activity voting on legislation. Photo Credit: Sunlight Foundation

NAME Congress by Sunlight Foundation

WHAT IT DOES Helps you keep current with bills and lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

HOW MUCH Free

COMPATIBLE WITH Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, requires iOS 7.1 or later; Android, and Kindle

WHAT'S GOOD Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that, the organization says, strives to make government and politics more accountable and transparent to all. Its Congress app allows you to access information from your device to learn more about who represents you in both houses. You can search by bill, legislator, committees and hearings, and create a "following" list for quick access and updates to what you consider hot-button issues. When you select an active bill, you'll discover who proposed it and you can read its full text and follow its activity. You can even share it on your Facebook page. Search legislators by state, House or Senate. Open a lawmaker's page to see a photo, the district represented (with a map), plus links to the legislator's address, phone, email and social media information. Select "sponsored" and "votes" for each legislator to check your representative's activity on bills. Go to sunlightfoundation.com for more of its other free apps, such as Ad Hawk, which allows you to identify political ads as they air and learn about who is behind them.

WHAT'S NOT While the (iTunes) app works only with the device held vertically, there are links to open the full text of bills on other sites where they can be read horizontally.

BOTTOM LINE Keep up with legislation that affects your life.

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