Sunday, January 2, 2011


The NYS Senate, which has spent the last two years updating its website to allow increased participation for New Yorkers, is currently beta testing a feature called "BILLBUZZ."
BILLBUZZ works in conjunction with the site's comment feature that allows people to offer their input on bills and other legislative actions. Through BILLBUZZ subscribers are sent daily emails that pull in recent comments made on the bill's of specific senators that they choose. THe limitation, though, is that the senate's OPEN LEGISLATION site only tracks senate bills, except for Assembly bills that are substituted on the floor.
Check out the new feature:

Also, stay tuned for future changes to the senate site, which is now under GOP control. The Republicans don't exactly have a history of promoting openness or any sort of tech savvy, but it is still unclear what the future will hold.
One thing seems likely, though, is that Senate Chief Information Officer Andrew Hoppin is likely to be on his way out.
Under Hoppin's control, the senate site began offering floor transcripts, committee votes and webcasts of public hearings and committee meetings.
As of December 22 he was still in the process of transitioning the senate in a "responsible manner" and hadn't made job plans for 2011.
Here is the latest version of the senate's new version of OPEN Legislation, which came out this past week:
Unfortunately the Senate site still relies on data from the Bill Drafting Commission.

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