In the month since PublicMarkup.org launched, we’ve gotten 121 comments on our draft reform legislation, the Transparency in Government Act of 2008. The media and blog coverage has been overwhelmingly favorable, but not without a healthy dose of skepticism.
The main questions we’ve faced attempt to locate the bill within a traditional reform process: Who will sponsor it? When will it pass? What are its chances?
As I wrote when we started encountering these hesitations,
As it stands now, though, we’re happy to not have all the answers about where the bill is going. Just like legislation itself, we’re not pretending to know the best strategy for the bill, and we recognize that best ideas will be the ones that can benefit from a large community of experts and stakeholders.
Now that we’ve gotten some real feedback about the bill’s provisions, we can make some decisions about how to advocate for the package’s implementation. (more)
We’re delighted by the value of the comments. The comments repeatedly point out specific improvements or suggestions that we’ll be glad to integrate into a new version of the bill. Participants have suggested everything from wording changes to improvements for the interface and Web site. We’re also happy to see public proof that broad scrutiny can have a constructive influence on legislative work.
To integrate the community’s suggestions, we’ve decided to let comments open for about another two weeks, and to then craft a new version of the legislation, taking suggestions into account. We want to be sure that public involvement is credited for the improvements, continue to allow at least general commentary on the new version after it’s prepared.
Thanks again to everyone who has participated, and if you have more feedback to offer, you have until about May 19th to leave it!