This map distinguishes five levels of legislative web and broadcasting comprehension on a sliding scale from “Best” (including all recommended elements: video formatting of floor proceedings and committee hearings, archived, and broadcasted via a variety of mediums) to “Worst” (missing several of these recommended elements). For more info (or to watch!) see the NCSL's original roundup here.
Open legislative data is integral to a functioning legible participatory democracy. The legislative data canopy covers everything from information about who represents you to the nuts and bolts of the legislative process to final letter of the law, with each element carrying its own series of challenges and considerations when it comes to public access. Timely and archived legislative process data (i.e. bills, amendments, committee meetings, votes, and contextual information, such as: research reports, legislative journals and lobbying information) are crucial to supporting citizen participation and informed voting. Video documentation of the legislative process represents the barebones of open and accountable legislative process data -- passive recordings of events as they happen for prosperity and public inclusion -- and yet this information is still not comprehensively available in most U.S. states.Continue reading
More and more members of Congress are using the Web to reach out to public constituencies to bring them into the processes in Congress. We saw this back in August when Sen. Dick Durbin went to the blog OpenLeft to discuss crafting a national broadband bill with members of the public. Yesterday, Rep. Ed Markey, the chairman of the Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence, posted a diary on the blog Daily Kos soliciting questions and concerns from the community to be used in a committee hearing on the
By adding a public element to the hearing the committee was able to create buzz in the environmental community and further open committee operations, which are the backbone of legislative activity, to the public. This will hopefully become a more regular activity among committee chairs and other members as they seek to use the Web to bring thoughtful and intelligent members of the general public in to help provide information outside of the normal think tank/lobbyist channels.Continue reading