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Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant

The legislative process in Sacramento is screwed up. The public can only find out about what’s happening when they watch TV, read the newspaper, or know a lobbyist. Even then, the “Average Joe” has little time to prepare for a potential regulatory burden that could impact his business or his livelihood. Navigating the bureaucracy is about as appealing as real life sausage making.

A team at California Polytechnic State University, led by former State Assembly Leader and Senator Sam Blakeslee, saw this lack of transparency as a problem and decided to do something about it.

They built a new online platform that features a searchable database of state legislative committee hearings, allowing the user to search videos by keyword, topic, speaker or date. It’s something the most sophisticated journalist or even an average citizen can use. And its the first tool of its kind –

“In committee rooms, decisions are made that affect the lives of millions. But except for insiders, these rooms are often empty – no public eyes, no public ears, and no public voice are present when decisions are being made.

 

We’ve developed an exciting new tool that fundamentally changes the balance of power.” — Dr. Sam Blakeslee

Click to learn more about Digital Democracy and other projects at the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy.

If you live in the Bay Area and want to get involved, just give me a call.

Digital Democracy launches statewide in California at the end of April.