Duplicate names for Vermont Senator is causing error


Hi there. I provide an app to issue-based advocacy organizations which utilizes OpenStates' API. Their supporters sign up for my app including their address and from that we assign them the appropriate state legislators. (The app does more but that's not pertinent here.)

Vermont's legislative session began a few days ago, and one of the organizations using my app has informed me there is a problem with the data regarding one of the Senators they are focusing on. He chairs the committee in which their bill is being debated. The org's supporters who live in his district and sign up for my app are not seeing him on their list of legislators as they should, so they can't contact him (using my app).

I just went to OpenStates.org to doube-check and there is definitely an error. Senator Dick Sears from the Bennington District appears with two different name formats, depending on which OpenStates page you're on. Neither contain his complete info. His personal profile page shows his history over the past few years, but shows that he is not on any committees. He actually sits on seven committees and chairs multiple (he's one of VT's most senior Senators).

I'm hoping his may be a fairly quick fix, though I realize things are often more complicated than they look and you guys have many issues to deal with. Time is of the essence on our end because this bill will be voted on by his committee in the next week or so, and the org using my app is unable to engage him right now with calls from their supporters.

Here are some links:
http://openstates.org/vt/legislators/VTL000026/dick-w-sears/ - shows partial info, with pic
http://openstates.org/vt/committees/VTC000009/judiciary/ - shows "not available", no pic, different name format than profile page (Dick Sears Jr. vs. Dick W Sears)
http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/single/2016/14613 - here's his profile page on the VT state legislative website, using the "Dick Sears Jr." format

In case it helps, Vermont has a biennium legislative session, and we're in the second year of the two year session (2015/2016). I know last year there was an issue with your API crossing session years in VT (ie. '14/'15 instead of '13/'14 or '15/'16). Maybe that's informative for this issue.

Please let me know if you need any more info from me. Thank you for your attention!


Andy Lo
January 25, 2016, 8:53 PM

This data issue should now be resolved. There are some longer-term issues with scraping the Vermont legislative website that still need to be addressed, however.


Andy Lo