LEGBOOK: KEEPING CITIZENS IN THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS

A proposal to provide complete transparency to the legislative process via internet software.  LegBook would provide virtually universal  access and input to laws as they are formed via a system something like Face Book & skype combined.  The system of checks and balances put into place by our founding fathers did not anticipate a usurpation of power  and control by non-governmental interests not representing the public interest as has ocurred in the United States. The Supreme Courts Citizen’s United decision, finding that corporations are persons under the Consititution suggest that the court istelf is no longer functioning as intended. The making of and enforcement of laws, our Court have in effect become a black box.  Transparency is the most effective check against the tyranny of private interests but it is virtually impossible for working people, sole proprietors, small business owners to be engaged in the legsilative process beyond election day. News sources almost never cover  pending legislation and on line systems for locating and reading pending bills are not user friendly.  It is beyond the ordinary citizen to even contemplate testifying before any legislative committee or  to  identify and track those bills before the legislature which  would affect them most.  A review of the legislative record on most bills will show that active input is controlled by industry lobbyists, major business sector representatives and members of the legislature.  In the age of almost universal Facebook literacy, internet literacy, the process of introducing and deliberating Federal State and Locallaw  should be as acessible in the same familiar vernacular and form as Facebook and skype..

 LegBook envisions an internet based public access, public information system which would enable every citizen via personal or public computers to:

(1)    Find out what bills are before the legislature and review a  plain english text of the bill.

(2)    View input and comment received on the bill to date via link to official committee and legislative archives

(3)    Apply to testify before upcoming hearings

(4)    Watch and participate in legislative hearings live on line or via archives after the hearing date

(5)    View video testimony and comment left at the site

(6)    Submit video or typed testimony from the site to the public record

(7)    Receive confirmation from the site on dates testimony may be given in person  or via live webcast.   (imagine a farmer or fisherman or construction company owner giving testimony right from where they work)

Leg Book would also serve office holders in the legislature enabling them to gauge which bills their constituents have taken an active interest in and what comments have been made to date enabling easier more fluid and timely communications between constituents and their elected representatives.

Imagine coming on to a lead page that is subject based (e.g.ground fish) which could be entered in a search command or from a menu.  Each bill before the legislature would be classified by menu key words and would be housed at the leg book page of the Committtee responsible for oversight and implementation under the page of the individual member responsbile for the bill..  Each Bill matching the key word search would have a plain English title and accurate plain English summary.  Also on the implementing agency home page would be a listing and plain English summary of all bills enacted within the past twelve months under the key word heading. The page for an individual enacted bill would identify the hearing schedule on implementing regulations and provide for   on line comments as well as on line rgistration for remote testimony. 

LegBook would be created and funded by public mandate replacing the present system for framing deliberating and enacting laws at the State and Federaland local level. 

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About lindsaynewlandbowker

Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit providing self initiated pro bono analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact . Bowker Associates has been an internationally recognized and cited voice in analysis of the Samarco failure, its consequence, and the possibilties for recovery. In 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with globally respected geophysicist David M. Chambers to recompile global authoritative accounts of significant TSF failures in recorded history and to analyze these data in the context of gloal mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) In 2014 Bowker Associates commissioned globally respected geophysicist and hydrogeologist Dr. David Chambers to undertake two technical works: (1) development of technical go no go criteria for vetting mine applications tp://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/a-new-statutory-regulatory-framework-for-responble-sulfide-mining-should-this-mine-be-built/ and (2) a case study of Maine's Bald Mountain, an un mined low grade high risk VMS deposit demonstrating the efficacy and accuracy of two risk assessment tools in vetting mine proposals https://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mountain-x-would-you-issue-a-permit-to-this-mine/ In Maine, Bowker Associates has deeply engaged and been a public voice in the Searsport DCP LPG Tank, The Cianbro proposal for a Private East West Toll Road, JD Irvings rolling pipeline of Bakken crude to its plant in St. John and review of Phase II plans at The Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, and Maine's revisitation of mining in statute and regulation... Our only “client”: is always “the pubic interest”. Our model is to focus on only one or two issues at a time so that we have a substantive command of the relevant field as our foundation for ongoing engagement. Our core work is in envirommental risk management, science and technology as well as bringing any available “best practices” models to the fore. The legal and regulatory history/best models are also a major thrust of our work in building and evaluating public policy. Director/Principal Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM is a recognized expert in Environmental Risk Management., Heavy Construction Risk Management and Marine and Transit Risks and has more than 3 decades of engagement in buiding public policy. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Banking Board (served 1986-1996); President New York Chapter Chartered Property and Casualty Insurers; Environmental Committee, Risk and Insurance Management Society; Director, Convenor/Co-Chair Bermuda Market Briefing "From Captive to Cats" Hamilton Bermuda. Published Articles of Significance The Risk Economics and Public Liability of Tailings Facility Failures, co-authored with David M. Chambers, July 2015 Beyond. Polarization: Superfund Reform in Perspective, Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control (Jan. 24, 1997). Lead Hazards and Abatement Technologies in Construction: A Risk Management Approach CPCU Journal 1997 Employee Leasing: Liability in Limbo Risk Management June 1 1997 Environmental Audit Privilege and the Public interest Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control, April 1997 Asbestos:Holes In Abatement Policies Need To Be Plugged, Lloyd’s Environmental Risk International, May 1993 Editor Published Letters Evironmental Risk Management Beware of Facile Policies Like Fetal Protection Business Insurance 1995(?) High Court Review May Increase Sale of Bank Annuities Business Insurances August 8, 1995 Professional Profiles Protecting the Big Apple’s Core Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Control December 1996 Major Career Highlights First rigorous analysis showing Relationship Between declining ore grades and TSF Failures of increasing consequence ( July 2015) FIrst Documentation that Gentrification Has Same Impacts as Unassisted Displacement from Urban Renewal Sites Direted Court Ordered EIS of FHA Mortgage Scandal Created Nation's First Homeownership Program for Low Income People (SHIP) Created Earliest Geographic Information Systems Using Defense Technology Developed By IBM Designed and Conducted Parallel Census Count to Show Systematic undercount in minority neighborhoods Documented Bias in ISO Territory Rating Plans for Private Passenger Auto Insurance Using ISO's own Rating Techniques Demonstrated Inherent Bias in Mortgage Policies of Banks With Inner City Branches Demonstrated that NY Telephones Plan for Area Code Split To accommodate anticipated cell phone demand was not efficient and would exhaust in 5 years ( which it did) Undertook First Systematic Evaluation of Child Protective Services Caseload Using Multi Variate Analyic Techniques Developed Child Protective Caseload Management and Tracking System (CANTS) and directed implementation in 4 client states including Illinois, Florida and New York Created and Ran Office of Risk Management for NYC DEP the Nations largest Water & Sewer Authority . Designed, Created and Administered Nation's First Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP)for High Risk Tunneling Education Masters NYU Graduate School of Public Administration BSC New School For Social Research Maine Public Schools Deering High School
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