By Ralph Schwartz
Want to tell your state legislator how you feel about a particular bill, but you don’t want to look up his/her phone number, mailing address or email?
Then get yourself to the state Legislature’s web page, then search for a bill, click the comment bar at the top of the page, and let your voice be heard (in 1,000 characters or less). You can also toggle among “oppose,” “neutral” and “support.”
You must be willing to give the government your street address, so if you say you support gun ownership in order to keep tyranny at bay, they can make a note of that in your file. Just kidding — they use the information to find out which legislator to direct the message to.
The full press release from the Legislature is below:
News Release – WASHINGTON STATE LEGISLATURE
PILOT PROGRAM FOR ELECTRONIC PUBLIC COMMENT ON BILLS
The Washington State Legislature is announcing the start of a pilot program called e-comments. The e-comments pilot program is part of the Legislature’s commitment to open government and will allow the citizens of Washington to submit electronic comments and suggestions directly to their legislators about any of the bills under consideration by the Legislature.
The e-comments pilot program is accessed through the Legislature’s Web site and allows the public to select a bill, indicate whether they are for or against it, and type comments and suggestions. This information is then made available to the legislators to be used in their consideration of the merits of a bill.
The public will be asked to create an account the first time they use the system and to provide residential address information to determine which legislative district they live in. This will allow the bill comments to be made available directly to the legislators who represent the person making the comments. This information will be used only by the Legislature and will not be sold or otherwise made available to any third parties for commercial purposes.
The e-comments pilot program is a collaboration between the Washington State Legislature and Granicus, Inc., of San Francisco, which will provide the software support and integration with the Legislature’s Web site.
Legislative Information Center