Bringing the Public Back In: Can the Comment Process Be Fixed? (New America)

New America: Bringing the Public Back In: Can the Comment Process Be Fixed?. “The public deserves a voice in the decisions we make as a democracy, including the regulations that govern our economy, foster competitive markets, and protect individual rights. In recent decades, the public comment process for agency decision-making has been the principal way in which government agencies understand and reflect the view of not only experts but average citizens whose lives will be affected by these choices. In order to participate meaningfully in decisions, citizens also need access to information about the agency and the data it has collected. But these processes—the public comment process, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and other transparency rules—are facing profound threats.”

The Irrawaddy (Myanmar): New Website Lets Public Track Legislation, ‘Vote’ on Bills

The Irrawaddy: New Website Lets Public Track Legislation, ‘Vote’ on Bills. “I AM A BILL, a new website that tracks legislation and monitors Parliament, was officially launched on Tuesday. The site provides the full history of every piece of legislation — from the date a bill is submitted to the lawmakers who submitted it and every debate it faces until it is pulled, rejected or approved…. Peace & Justice Myanmar, a local NGO, has been developing the site since May 2017 and by August hopes to have uploaded all bills introduced since February 2016, after the NLD was voted into power.”

Chicago Tribune: For elected officials in Northwest Indiana, social media serves as a help line and a sounding board

Chicago Tribune: For elected officials in Northwest Indiana, social media serves as a help line and a sounding board. “When I contacted Porter County Auditor Vicki Urbanik at 9:49 p.m. on a Tuesday, she was responding to a taxpayer via Facebook. The taxpayer sent Urbanik a message about a tax bill through the auditor’s Facebook page earlier that day. ‘Though I can’t access her tax information right now, I believe the issue deals with her assessed value, so I am explaining the appeal process,’ Urbanik told me.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Two Penn alumni launch VOHTE — a ‘one-stop shop’ for voters to get info on all candidates

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Two Penn alumni launch VOHTE — a ‘one-stop shop’ for voters to get info on all candidates. “2014 Wharton graduate Sean Danowski and 2014 Penn Law graduate Dafan Zhang recently launched VOHTE — a mobile-friendly website that will act as a resource for Pennsylvania voters looking to learn more about candidates in their district. Zhang said he came up with the idea for VOHTE after running for State House in 2014 while simultaneously studying at Penn Law. Zhang, who said he did not have a large campaign fund, ended up losing the election, and said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvania that he saw his inability to reach voters as a systematic problem.”

Crisis Management through Twitter: The Case of the Barcelona Attacks (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya: Crisis Management through Twitter: The Case of the Barcelona Attacks. “This article explores how the Government of Catalonia managed the emergency scenario during terrorists attacks of August 2017 (from 17th to 22nd ) in Barcelona. Twitter was used for public services, Mossos d’Esquadra (the police force of Catalonia) and the Government of Catalonia Civil Defence, as an essential tool to broadcast information, secure people’s security and drive the investigation. We gathered the network of Twitter posts and interactions, with tens of thousands of users, who helped spreading the information, and applied a social network analysis (SNA) methodology to conclude how those users contribute on the crisis management. In this investigation, we have focused on two questions: How does information diffusion spread during this crisis? And who are the actors that contribute to the expansion? This article aims to inform and explore how public services can use social media to handle crisis of any kind, taking advantage of citizens for spreading information that could contribute to a safer and quicker crisis resolution.” The article is a PDF and is in English.