Wonk alert: changes at Thomas website

There's a new ranking list on Capitol Hill this session, a sort of popularity contest for legislation, and all the hottest bills are on it.

The list at thomas.loc.gov ranks the top five most searched bills on the site, and it's updated every week. Some of the rankings are fairly obvious, for example healthcare bills occupy the top two spots this week, but others may surprise you.

Like #3 on the list, H.R. 45, a firearms registration bill proposed last spring by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). Turns out it's a big favorite of the gun rights activists (because they fear it will become law). Emails on H.R. 45 help gin up donations to gun rights groups.

A source told ITK that Rush's office keeps tabs on how many hits the bills gets; it can often tell when a new conservative mailer has gone out because the hits spike.