Publicmarkup.org is a place to post a bill, to solicit public comment, and suggest edits to the substance of the legislation. “PublicMarkup.org, an ongoing experiment in preparing legislation more inclusively by opening bills to online, public review. PublicMarkup.org gives you the opportunity to review and comment on proposed bills before they are even introduced—or while they are pending—in Congress.”
Publicmarkup’s goals represent a new dimension in participatory democracy, one that policypitch is engaging citizens in: the legislative drafting process and bill proposals do not just have to be undertaken by those in power. Currently, at the state level, a legislator thinks of an idea (often with help of a public advocacy group or special interest), bounces around the logistics of the idea, the political capital to make it happen, and its impact on the community. Once its a go, the legislator has staff members draft the actual bill. Then it goes to committee hearings and through the state House or Senate. There is often no public comment or influence by the population at large.
But why should the ideas be limited only to legislators or special interests? Sites like Publicmarkup and Policypitch aim to change that. While publicmarkup focuses on bills at the national level, Policypitch aims to serve as an idea incubator/public brainstorm platform where citizens can introduce ideas for legislation, craft bills themselves, and allow others to comment and/or contribute their thoughts. The proposed bills that gain the most traction float to the top, and will compel action by the legislators. In effect, sites like Policypitch and publicmarkup should not only allow citizens to edit and comment on proposed bills, but also introduce and iron out details of thier own proposals, all with the help of the community at large.
Now we just need to the people to make it happen!