Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 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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Opening Pitch

As our April recap demonstrated, PolicyPitch has gained a great deal of momentum lately. Over the course of the next few months, we hope to capitalize on this by rolling out the new and improved PolicyPitch now with 30% more policy and less pitchy aftertaste!

Democracy is only as good as its citizenry and PolicyPitch is likewise only as good as its users. Therefore, we are currently working deep in an underground bunker implementing improvements to the site that will make it more functional and user friendly than ever before. The new version will feature advanced video camera functionality, including double tap auto-focus and low light level macro settings… oh wait sorry that’s the new iPhone 3GS… well, at least you don’t need AT&T to use PolicyPitch! I guess ya’ll just have to check back often to see our progress.

Oh and one last thing. I’d like to thank the PolicyPitch team for welcoming me on board. We are looking forward to bringing civic engagement to an entirely unprecedented level and I am just proud to be a part of that process.

~ Damien LaManna

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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 – 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 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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March Policypitch Roundup

We got a lot done in March.  A short snapshot at our inner workings:

Headline news:

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