Hello everyone, welcome to the new version of PolicyPitch. Our team has been hard at work over the past several months to update the design and add lots of new features. We asked our users what you wanted and we hope the new site will deliver that. Having said that, I’d like to update you with our new features.
The new site is more focused on legislation transparency than before by extracting legislation information from Arizona, California, and Kentucky so that all of the political actions are visible. The main holdover from the previous version is the ability to pitch your own policy in any community you want. You can vote for or against any policy on its detail page by clicking on the buttons in the top right corner. You can get email notifications on any update by tracking policies, politicians, categories, and users. A full tutorial of the website can be seen on the How It Works page
We’re really excited about the new version. We hope it makes it easier to navigate and encourages people to pitch their own policies, vote, and make comments. Let’s start bringing the power to the people in your community!
Why should Congressman tap lobbyists and consultants when they can tap the power of the crowd?
Particularly in State legislatures, there are so many issues and specialty areas, how can state legislators possibly be educated enough on very specific bills to make informed decisions? The answer is they are not. So, they rely on lobbyists, hire consultants, or talk with special interests to inform them and tell them about the issues. Then the legislators form a stance and make their decisions. But what if this could be done…at least in part, by tapping the wisdom of the crowd? What if your state legislator could engage his or her constituents in a two-way dialogue? Once the elected official opens the door for real public input, knowledgeable citizens can have a real chance of influencing policy. Instead of hiring an insider lobbyist like Nancy Pelosi, Congressmen would take into account the collective opinion of their constituents.
Want to influence policy in your town or state? Get started.
While Obama’s followers now have the opportunity to influence policy using new, citizen-driven agendas at sites that aim to crowdsource policy and increase citizen participation in governance, conservatives now have the same opportunity with the launch of Rebuildtheparty.com. Rebuildtheparty applies the crowdsourcing approach to government 2.0, allowing people to pitch and suggest ideas for the Republican party. The top two leading voter ideas are “Enacting the Fair Tax Plan” and “Reach out to Ron Paul and the Campaign for Freedom.” The site is a network of grassroots activists for the Republic party, and it already has 6 Republican party officials who have endorsed their 10 point action plan to strengthen the republican party (including: Saul Anuzis, Michigan GOP Chairman; Ken Blackwell,Former Ohio Secretary of State; Mike Duncan,Current RNC Chairman;Chip Saltsman, Former TN GOP Chairman; and Michael Steele, GOPAC Chairman).
Check it out at: http://www.Rebuildtheparty.com.
Image courtesy of cforjustice.org
Part 2 in our series about how the Utah Senate is effectively using social media to increase transparency and provide for a more participatory democracy.
In addition to the amazing initiatives by the Utah legislature discussed yesterday, the Senate has an entire web page dedicated to web 2.0 technology entitled “Your Government 2.0 Lab.” Citizens can connect on Facebook or Linked In, and even keep constant tabs on Twitter.
Some of their government 2.0 initiatives to increase transparency, proliferate information, and promote citizen engagement include:
- SenateMobile: important updates from the senate – sent as text messages to your cell phone.
- SenateCam: a user-controlled web cam usually stationed in the president’s office.
- SenateTube: live-streaming video for press conferences and special events.
- Senate Floor Debate : historic archive (audio and now video) of discussion on the senate floor.
In their own words:
The Utah State Senate is committed to making government work the way it was envisioned: a stable republic maintained by an informed, engaged citizenry. Web 2.0 offers a few new tools that might help. We’ll see.
Got ideas? We’d love to hear them. If you are on LinkedIn, consider joining Government 2.0, a network of citizens and professionals exploring the use of New Media tools in government communication.