Author Archives: policypitch

Four More States Added Courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation

Over the summer we added four more states that you can now access legislative information from: New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.  Our data comes from the Open States API, a project of the Sunlight Foundation.   They are supporting our efforts to gather and make it easier to share state-level legislative data.  Enjoy!

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PolicyPitch adds legislative data from four new states

You can now access legislative data for Vermont, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Nevada (in addition to Arizona, California, and Kentucky)!  The data includes bill summaries, bill text, legislative sponsor information and for some states, bill analysis, time line and history.  We want to say thanks to our friends at the Sunlight Foundation! They have done a great job with the Open States API.

We are working hard on adding more states and look forward to providing you with more data in early 2011.   Until then, enjoy!



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New Partnership with the Sunlight Foundation

We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Sunlight Foundation!  The Sunlight Foundation is the national leader in government transparency and accountability.  Their focus is on the digitization of government data and the creation of tools and web sites to make that data easily accessible for all people.   Sunlight has funded and advanced some amazing projects, including Open Congress, FollowTheMoney and OpenSecrets.  Their internal development team, Sunlight Labs, also runs several online programs to foster transparency, including Apps for America, the Congress Android App and  The Fifty State Project.  Check out all their projects here.

So, what are we working on?  First off, Sunlight has given us a mini-grant.  The grant will help our team develop new data scrapers for the City of New Orleans ordinances and Home Rule Charter as well as other technology upgrades and features.  Additionally, PolicyPitch will be integrating their state legislative data from the Fifty State Project.   Once complete, this will allow our users to track local legislation in all fifty states!  For most of Sunlight’s history, their initiatives have primarily focused on Congressional and federal level transparency and disclosure.  This Sunlight – PolicyPitch partnership begins to move digital transparency to the state and local level and helps improve citizen engagement and influence.

PolicyPitch and Sunlight are also both dedicated to open source principles.  Accordingly, all of the information available on our site will (eventually) be opened up to any of our users to view, utilize, mashup, or otherwise use at their discretion.  We are very excited to be working with Sunlight and look forward to the next set of updates to the site!  Stay tuned!

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PolicyPitch a Top 3 website in Gambit’s 2010 Best of New Orleans Web Awards

PolicyPitch.com was voted in Gambit’s Top 3 for their first annual Gambit’s 2010 Best of New Orleans Web Awards competition in the category of “Best Service Provider.”   I definitely want to give a shout out to Gator Works, the very talented team that did our web design.  In addition, congrats to all the other websites and business that also won!  You can check out all the finalists here.

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Welcome 2010: iPhone app Election Hub & new site

Welcome, 2010!  It’s been a while since the last post, and the PolicyPitch team has been busy working on several new initiatives!

First, we want to announce the release of our first iPhone application: Election Hub! Election Hub includes up-to-the-minute stats, facts, news and notes on each New Orleans 2010 Mayoral and City Council candidate. Features include candidate bios and platform stances, incoming news articles, campaign finance reports, and twitter feeds.  Election Hub also features an interactive community section where users can comment and sound-off on the candidates, campaign spending, platform stances, and news.  Additionally, Election Hub polls the app’s users once a week on who they would vote for in the Mayoral race.  DOWNLOAD the app for FREE.

Election Hub was launched as a joint venture between PolicyPitch and Susco Solutions.  Susco Solutions is one of the premier mobile development and software companies in the South.  Susco’s expertise and responsiveness was fantastic at all levels.  Check out Susco’s take on Election Hub’s development.  More information on Election Hub here.

Second, the re-design of the PolicyPitch site has been underway for months and is FINALLY nearing completion.  The new site will feature a streamlined look and simplified navigation; easier tools to pitch your policies, the ability to contact local elected officials, and all of the legislative bills from Arizona, California, and Kentucky (with Louisiana coming very soon)!  Shortly thereafter, we will have all of the bills filed by legislators in all 50 states!

Third, check out the “If I Were Mayor” platform developed by HumidBeings.com in partnership with PolicyPitch and Engage Nola.  IIWM allows citizens of New Orleans to post policy ideas for the Mayoral candidates and vote on those ideas!  Check it out.

Overall, this has been a fantastic few months and a great start to 2010!

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June-July Updates

Things are moving along at PolicyPitch.com!

Among the biggest news, we were selected and honored by New Orleans City Business for The 2009 New Orleans Innovator of the Year!  We were selected as a top honoree from hundreds of submissions.   The final selection will be in late September.  We have our fingers crossed!

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April recap: gaining momentum

April was an exciting month for the Policypitch team!  Our first legislative bill was pitched by a Louisiana state legislator, we made it to the finals of the Tulane Business Plan Competition, made a splash in the press, and continued development of our new platform!

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Policypitch gets our first elected official to “pitch” his bill

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.

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Policypitch Coverage in New Orleans

The past few weeks we have received some great press from the New Orleans media.   I wanted to share some of the coverage that we have received.   A lot of it stems from the first bill that we made available for public comment 2 weeks ago, House Bill 638 by Representative Hines.  The Louisiana Legislative session starts today, and Rep. Hines is still seeking public input on the bill.

From WDSU Channel 6 News New Web Site Offers Public Feedback on Proposed Bills:”

The site allows users to communicate directly to their state representatives and communicate with other residents about the issues they care about most.  The web site http://www.policypitch.com is an online forum for introducing and discussing community ideas. Citizens can give input into proposed bills and receive feedback by voting or ranking the ideas in their community.  People who visit the site can also start petitions, accept online donations, and build support for their ideas.

Policypitch was launched by local New Orleanian Zach Kupperman.

And from New Orleans City Business No State Income Tax for Young Adults:”

…Kupperman said his Web site, launched in test form last year and headquartered in New Orleans, is “trying to change the way that the public interacts with their elected officials. Society is moving towards a bottom-up approach to creating public policy. We are entering the era of the community authored wiki bill.”

The Web site will soon offer free legislative tracking for Louisiana and, eventually, the United States.

Also watch the news video from ABC 26 News Tax Break for College Students.”

Check out our press page to check out all of our recent buzz!

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Change the Web Challenge Finalists Announced! Winner to be selected April 28

As a strategic partner with Social Actions, Policypitch is excited about all of these amazing widgets and applications!  Which apps do you think could be of most use to enhancing the ideas on Policypitch?

NetSquared and Social Actions are proud to announce the Top 24 Finalists from the Change the Web Challenge…read more.

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