Public Legislative Participation

From OpenCongress Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search


Efforts led by Individual Legislators

Senator Lieberman

Description: developed the first E-government Act of 2002 in conjunction with a public Web site that collected priorities and suggestions. From the accompanying report language: On May 18, 2000, Senators Lieberman and Thompson launched an on-line `experiment in interactive legislation', a website that sought public comments on 44 topics related to possible measures that Congress could take to advance the cause of e-government. Topics were organized into categories, such as `centralized leadership', `funding innovations', and `digital democracy: citizen access and participation,' and ranged from `centralized online portal' to `interoperability standards' to `G-Bay': enhanced online distribution of federal government surplus property.' For each of the topics, a short discussion described the status of current efforts and the `New Idea', or ideas, being offered for consideration. Visitors to the website could then submit their comments on the subject, and read views that had been submitted by others. Nearly 1,000 comments were submitted, approximately one half of which were posted on the website after being reviewed by Committee staff.13

[Footnote] Comments were submitted by private citizens, academicians, federal employees, and even federal agencies. OMB also responded to the website by soliciting views from federal agencies; OMB officials then consolidated agencies' responses and presented them to the Committee as a single document. Opinions, additional information, and alternative proposals submitted over the website proved helpful as Senator Lieberman formulated his electronic government legislation.

[Footnote] 13Comments were reviewed primarily for appropriateness and relevance; Committee staff did not favor any particular viewpoint in deciding which submissions to post. The website was intended to educate the public about the potential of e-government, to solicit input and information on the many topics being considered for possible legislation, and to serve as both an experiment and an example of how the Internet could be used to make government processes more accessible to the public.

Senator Dick Durbin


Description: held public discussions on Open Left and Redstate, asking the question: "What Should We Include in our National Broadband Strategy?" In a sense, the California initiative process involves citizen participation, although it bypasses more than it augments the legislative process.

Rep. Kuhl

Description: launched a "Fix Washington" project, where citizens proposed legislative priorities

Speaker Pelosi

The Open House Project launched with Speaker Pelosi's endorsement, developing a transparency reform agenda for Congress.

Pelosi Digg Link:

Description: (from site) Digg CEO Jay Adelson asks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questions sent by iReporters and selected by the Digg community.

Congressman Buck McKeon's YouTube page


Description: Congressman McKeon's page includes numerous informative videos of the Congressman explaining several policies. Also includes behind-the-scenes footage of his Congressional offices and interviews with his Congressional staff.

Eshoo's vote justifications

Link: h

Description: On Congresswomen Eshoo's website, under the "Issues" heading, the congresswoman has detailed listings of her voting positions on a variety of issues.

Honda -- estem, honda2.0 redesign project


Description: (from site) Rep. Honda’s constituents, among many others, will redesign his Congressional website – in what is called crowd-sourcing – in the latest initiative by Rep. Honda to make government more transparent and accessible to the public. To begin generating ideas for the web re-design, Rep. Honda has already started engaging in a dialogue with constituents on Twitter using the #honda2.0 tag (for more info:

Iraq CODEL google map mashup


Description: (from site) Senator Nelson recently led a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to Iraq to meet with Nebraska troops and assess the challenges and progress in the war-torn country. He created a webpage so you can share in his experience in Iraq and see and hear for yourself how our men and women in uniform live and carry out their mission throughout the region.

Boehner Digg

Link: Description: (from site) CNN's Mark Preston delivers viewer questions to Minority leader John Boehner in a 'Digg Dialogg.'

Earmark Idol

From TechPresident:

You might recall that we recently drew your attention to how Rep. Tim Walz, Democrat from Minnesota, has been posting the earmark requests that have come into his office, and has been asking his constituents to help him vet just which ones deserve his support.
Rep. Chellie Pingree from Maine's 1st District might, perhaps, have done Walz one better. At least, it's more entertaining. Pingree asked groups and individuals making requests for appropriations for fiscal year 2011 to prepare three-minute or so presentations on the merits of their particular projects, and why they deserved taxpayer dollars. Pingree filmed them, about 90 in total, and posted them to YouTube and her website, where constituents can leave comments assessing whether the earmark requests should go on to the next round House Appropriations Committee.
Above is one example of the Earmark Idol webisodes. The applicants want $370,000 for the extension of the Androscoggin River Bicycle Path. Three minutes of video presentation probably isn't going to be enough for citizens not otherwise familiar with the project to really get a handle on its details, but it certainly does open up the appropriations process to more eyeballs. Besides, how awesome is that lobster wall art?

Eric Cantor - YouCut

When we launched YouCut over a year ago, we could have never imagined how enthused people were by the effort, how engaged they became, and how successful the program would be in achieving its mission of changing the culture of spending into a culture of savings. Millions of votes were cast across the country to encourage the House to cut spending, and that is exactly what we continue to do. Now, as our new majority continues to work to cut spending and grow our economy, it's time to transform YouCut to its next phase. Take a moment to review the options and vote on which spending cut you believe should be sponsored by the YouCut program.

Rep. Darrell Issa - The Madison Project - Public legislative drafting and comment tool. 

You have a right to an open government that works for you. You pay for it. You live with it. And you deserve an equal voice in what government does every day. exists to power your participation in government, and hold it accountable. 

Our first step is to open the legislative and treaty process. We built Madison – the new tool you met on the home page – to do just that. Madison is a work in progress, just like the bills and international agreements on here. But we can’t make Madison better without users like you. Push it to the limits and tell us what we missed, or what we could do better. 

Efforts led by Government Bodies


Description: is a public wiki, set up in conjunction with the Utah State Legislature's Rules Committee.

The Irish House of Parliament

The Oirechtas, held an involved "e-consultation" project on their broadcasting bill From their site: "The consulters, comprising of members of the Joint Committee of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas e-Consultation Working Group, viewed the e-Consultation pilot as a significant departure from previous practice as it involved a dedicated website which allowed for the posting of submissions in a structured manner as well as a discussion forum and it constituted an attempt to communicate directly with the public on legislation and not just target traditional 'stakeholders'."

Ask George


Description: (from the site) Ask George is the easiest way to search State of Washington Web pages. You don't need to use confusing symbols or search terms. You simply ask a question or name a topic in your own words, and George does the rest. Just type in your keywords or a detailed question, then press Enter or the �Go� button. (For example: Where can I learn about emissions testing for my vehicle?)

British Power of Information report

Efforts led by Organizations

The Peer to Patent Project


Description: (from the site) is probably the best designed example of substantive public involvement, although it isn't legislative.