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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Digital Democracy Project Unleashes Oversight and Accountability on CA Legislature

Every year in California’s state capital, 120 full-time lawmakers, 2,000 full-time staff, and 130 legislative committees, introduce an average of 5,000 bills each legislative session, thus creating a booming industry for California’s 1,100 registered lobbyists. They do this with a $150 billion annual budget. And they do this while simultaneously managing to keep out most of the public.

In… Read More

Katy Grimes

New Technology Facilitates Transparency, Openness in CA State Govt.

‘Transparency’ is probably the most overused word in political speech, while at the same time, the most underutilized in practice.In a free society, transparency in government means openness, accountability, and honesty. It is the obligation of government to share information with citizens, yet is increasingly difficult to access – even in California, home to Silicon Valley.

Without transparency, citizens are unable to hold public officials accountable. And that’s the problem –government is responsible for making itself available to be accountable. It’s unnatural. While the true statesman values principle above popularity, today’s era of politics in California doesn’t breed an abundance of statesmen.

However, one of the good guys – a real statesman – former State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, has tackled the problem of transparency in politics. The Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy, under the leadership of Blakeslee, officially launched the Digital Democracy Project, to provide a searchable database of all legislative hearings. “This package… Read More