I have two comments:
Frankly, I think it is a good idea--but change moves slowly. Recommend adding this but advertising the idea to the public BEFORE introducing it. When people think about it, I believe they will like the idea. If/when implemented, also suggest it be done so that public has access to free downloadable software to follow all meetings and votes.
Second comment: I have recently used the software Elluminate for a couple of conferences across statelines. I was able to participate fully in the discussion plus add extra thoughts by text. This allowed me to do quick searches regarding current topic and stay on task. Several people added enormously useful comments that helped everyone's thinking. Some people who were invited to just attend had interesting enough questions that they were invited to share their thoughts with the entire group. This would not be possible in a standard meeting, where observers would just have to whisper their thoughts to their neighbors. A lot of expertise is wasted that way.
A tremendous amount was done in a very short time. If this kind of software is already easily available, we should be able to purchase or develop our own software.
If I could follow a committee meeting and text my concerns and questions to an aide of my congressman during the meeting, that would be great. I would feel I was a real part of the process. I would KNOW my questions at least reached the aides taking down the comments. During the so-called town meetings, a few people always hijack the meetings and dominate them. No quieter person has the opportunity to interact. Some would say to that quiet person they he should send in phone comments and letters prior to the meeting, but (1)I would have to be aware of upcoming committee meetings far enough ahead of time in order to send such a letter and (2) I really doubt these are ever read by the legislator unless there are dozens of similar ones .
posted 3 years, 7 months ago
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