State Representative Walker Hines, D-New Orleans, became the first elected official to post a proposed piece of legislation on Policypitch for public comment and feedback. With Louisiana facing a large budget deficit, his bill to eliminate the Louisiana state income tax for residents age 18-29 attending college or with college degrees was sure to face an uphill battle in the 2009 legislative session. So, Mr. Hines pitched the idea to his constituents on Policypitch.com – writing an open letter to residents, seeking input and feedback, and asking for their support. Within a few weeks, the bill easily became the most popular–and polarizing–issue pitched on the website.
With more than 2,000 views (the highest of any idea) and over 30 comments, Mr. Hines was able to build support for his bill proposal, gather feedback from residents, and answer questions about the bill. In response to the overwhelming interest, Rep. Hines wrote another open-response letter to the residents, answering questions about how the State will pay for the lost revenue and his goal of retaining a young, educated workforce in LA. Hines’ proposed bill, HB 638, is assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee and is scheduled for a vote in the coming weeks. There is still plenty of time to give your 2 cents, and Rep. Hines is continually monitoring the site for feedback!
From the perspective of the Policypitch Team, the interest and results from the Hines’ bill was very encouraging. The enthusiasm from our users and Louisiana residents goes a long way to show there is a market for grassroots public policy initiatives and that residents desire a easy outlet to communicate with their elected officials. In the future, once the new website is rolled out (hopefully in the few weeks), we will have 100% of the bills pitched by all state legislators in Louisiana, and eventually in all 50 states! This way, the process will be automated and elected officials can spend less time pitching their ideas and more time collecting feedback and interacting with their constituents. The new launch is coming soon so please SIGN UP HERE!