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.