The project was built by faculty-supervised students at Temple University and five other universities with the support and cooperation of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Also participating were students and faculty members at Pennsylvania State University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg, and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania project is modeled on the national Policy Agendas database (www.policyagendas.org), which allows users to track and analyze federal policy since 1946. Created by political scientists Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones and funded by the National Science Foundation, the national project is housed at the University of Texas. Similar databases are under construction in a dozen foreign countries as a part of the Comparative Agendas Project.
We also believe the project can help correct a long-standing imbalance in both scholarship and public understanding. The state role in American public policy is under-studied in universities, under-reported by the news media, and not well understood by the general public. Scholars and the news media have paid far more attention to national and urban public policy, perhaps partly because many state capitals are remote from the main campuses of major universities and from major metropolitan news outlets.
Construction of the database was made possible by funding from the Pennsylvania General Assembly, a grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development, and by in-kind contributions by the participating universities, including faculty time and overhead costs. Virtually all project funds have directly supported students at Temple and the other participating universities. The database now is maintained solely with Temple University funds.
From its inception, the project has benefitted enormously from support provided by senior staff officers of the General Assembly and from assistance provided by many other individuals with state agencies, some of whom are still active and some of whom have assumed other positions in public or private life or have retired. They include:
- The General Assembly Project Advisory Committee
Mark Corrigan secretary of the Senate; Greg Jordan, executive director, and Tom Starke, former executive director, Senate Appropriations Committee [R]; Randy Albright, executive director, Senate Appropriations Committee [D]; Clancy Myer, House Parliamentarian; Steve Tuckey, counsel, and Joe Miller, former director of research, House Republican Caucus; Beryl Kuhr, counsel, and Lisa Fleming, budget analyst, House Appropriations Committee [D].
- The Chief Clerks: Russell Faber (Senate) and Anthony Barbush (House) and Roger Nick, former chief clerk of the House.
- Commonwealth Offices, Archivists and Records Center Directors
Heidi C. Mays, House archivist; Evelyn Andrews, Senate librarian; Kathy A. Sullivan, executive director, Legislative Data Processing Center; Harry F. Parker, former chief, Division of Archives, Historical and Museum Commission; Caryn J. Carr, former director, State Library of Pennsylvania; Judy Townsend, former assistant director, Public Services Division, State Library; Randall Tenor, library supervisor, State Library; Robert Zech, director, Legislative Reference Bureau; David Hostetter, former executive director, Joint State Government Commission; Michael Gasbarre, executive director, Local Government Commission; Philip Durgin, executive director, Legislative Budget and Finance Committee; Barry L. Denk, executive director, Center for Rural Pennsylvania; Mark H. Bergstrom, executive director, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing; Steve Miskin, press secretary to the House Majority Leader; Gary Tuma and Chuck Ardo, former press secretaries to Governor Rendell; and ML Wernecke, former policy director, Department of Public Welfare.
- Others Who Helped
Nancy Watson, curator, Thornburgh Archives (the Dick Thornburgh Papers), University of Pittsburgh; James P. Quigel, head of historical collections and labor archives, Penn State University; G. Terry Madonna and Berwood Yost, The Franklin and Marshall College Poll; Christopher Pece, chief, public finance analysis branch, United States Bureau of the Census; and Governing Magazine.
- The University Advisory Committee (Faculty Leaders and Advisors)
Frank Baumgartner, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and formerly of The Pennsylvania State University; Beverly Cigler, The Pennsylvania State University—Harrisburg; David Y. Miller, University of Pittsburgh; Donald F. Kettl, University of Maryland and formerly of the University of Pennsylvania; Richard A. Stafford, Carnegie Mellon University; Paul Wolfgang, Temple University; Megan Mullin, Temple University; J. Wesley Leckrone, Widener University and former graduate student, Temple University; Justin Gollob, Mesa State University and former graduate student, Temple University; David Thornburgh, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania; Mike King, former executive director, Legislative Office for Research Liaison, Pennsylvania House of Representatives.