For the first time ever, New Yorkers can log on and legislate to create smarter municipal laws that work for them
May 29, 2014
New York, NY – New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos today released seven key government reform bills for online public debate and drafting in Madison, a free policymaking platform developed by the nonprofit OpenGov Foundation. Madison gives citizens direct access to their legislators and the legislative process itself, lowering the barrier between citizens and their government on their own time, and on their own terms. Councilmember Kallos is the second city legislator in America to harness the power of collaborative Internet-based legislating, joining Washington, D.C. Councilmember David Grosso on the cutting edge of American democracy. To get involved, New Yorkers simply need to log on to start legislating in partnership with Kallos.
“The law belongs to the people that it governs,” said Councilmember Kallos. “This is government 2.0. Bringing legislation to the public means putting it online, because in the 21st Century, public = online. I am committed to empowering New Yorkers to draft and improve upon legislation on Madison because at the end of the day, they are the ones who live with it. I look forward to a future where legislators harness technology to bring government to the people.”
Kallos’ seven bills opened for public, online drafting in Madison include the:
- eNotices Act, requiring all government-issued public notices be posted online;
- Public Online Information Act and the City Record Online Act, making public information available online in machine-readable formats;
- Free and Open Source Software Act and the Civic Commons Act, aimed at saving government resources through the use of free and collaborative technology;
- Open Maps Act and Open Crime Data Act, mandating the sharing of critical crime statistics online via APIs that web developers can use to build useful tools for data visualization and analysis.
“A free and open New York City depends on free, open and fully-accessible city information,” said Seamus Kraft, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The OpenGov Foundation. “Today, that means NYC’s most important civic data – and the processes that produce it – should be available to everyone online, on-demand and in the best formats possible. The legislation introduced by Councilman Kallos today not only represents a sea change for civic data and the way it is made: it is the model for how municipal leaders across America should be reinventing their own governments to support informed, engaged communities that can tackle our toughest challenges.”
Congressman Issa, Chairman of the US House Oversight & Government Reform Committee – and Co-Founder of The OpenGov Foundation – lauded Kallos’ work:
“Investing in free and open-source software is critical to creating modern governments that deliver better service and more value,” said Congressman Darrell Issa. “But across America, out-dated procurement rules block the information technology innovation we need, forcing citizens to foot the bill for billions of dollars wasted on expensive proprietary software boondoggles. I applaud Councilman Kallos’ efforts to fix the retrograde purchasing rules preventing New York City from realizing the significant benefits of bringing open source software into municipal government.”
How Madison Works
Madison is a free online platform that connects citizens directly with their elected officials, turning today’s confusing and inefficient lawmaking processes into an interactive, seamless user experience where everyone can have an equal say, and actually be heard by their governments. It’s how laws should be made in the Internet Age.
Madison is free and open-source software that reinvents government for the Internet Age. Madison 1.0 powered the American people’s successful defense of Internet freedom from Congressional threats. It delivered the first crowdsourced bill in the history of the U.S. Congress. And now, the non-partisan, non-profit OpenGov Foundation has released Madison 2.0, empowering you to participate in your government, efficiently access your elected officials, and hold them accountable.
Currently in beta, Madison 2.0 is open source software that can be used to open any government data production process on the Web – from regulations to rule-making, legislation to letter-writing. Bottom line: Madison is custom-built to connect the decision-makers in our democracy to the people they serve. Click here if you want Madison and The OpenGov Foundation to help you get better results from your local, state or federal government.
About The OpenGov Foundation
OpenGov is a small non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 working to open government. That means making it easier for people to access and use as much government information as possible. We believe innovative technology can help deliver a government that listens, works for everyday citizens, and actually delivers smart solutions to our shared challenges.
We believe democracy means everyone should have the chance to be a hands-on contributor.