Monday, January 24, 2011

The Power of the Web

State Senator Stan Rosenberg, Dave Sullivan (our new DA) and Congressman John Olver march in the Amherst 7/4 Parade.

So I noticed yesterday in the Springfield Sunday Republican "How they Voted" section that Amherst's long-time state senator Stan Rosenberg had voted against a bill (proposed by those miscreant Republicans) that would have mandated roll call votes also be posted on the state website in addition to being available in hardcopy buried deep in the recesses of an office somewhere at the State House in Boston.

Unfortunately "How they voted" doesn't explain why they voted that way. So naturally I took to Stan's Facebook page to ask:

I'm a little surprised, sitting here reading my Sunday Republican ("How they voted"), that you voted No to Rule S-6 requiring Committee roll call votes cast by our duly elected legislators on bills in their committee to be posted on the Legislature's website.

You were an early adopter of the 'Power of the Web' and have this wonderful Facebook page and are extremely accessible via email, so you know well how the Internet has fostered greater interaction between politicians and their constituents.

The average person these days (or I guess above average, since they would actually care about these "inside politics" voting sessions) could not easily make the trip to the Statehouse in Boston--especially in the winter--to view hardcopy available in the offices of said committee.What is wrong with greater transparency and a far superior means of dissemination?

And, true to form (even on a Sunday), I did not take long for a response:

Nice to hear from you as always. I have no problem with the proposal to post roll call votes in Committees. The problem is technical at this point. We are going through a complete changeover of our legislative website and while we are making progress expanding what is on the site we are having growing pains. We have not yet even been able to perfect the site enough to have all of our roll calls from Senate floor actions on the site. That is the plan and it is being worked on but not perfected. I expect we can add roll calls from committee action at some point but we just can't at this point so putting it in the rules will not work until we can actually do it.

Also you should know that probably 90 percent of committee actions are taken by voice vote so when it is finally able to be done there will not be that many bills actually moved by recorded vote. Not a reason to slow it down but just a point of information

Thanks Stan. I knew there was a good reason. And this exchange kind of proves my point about the power of the web and it's usefulness to democracy. Stay warm!


Anonymous said...

We love Senator Stan!!

Anonymous said...

ALL Votes of any kind (yes, including Town Meeting) should be recorded and posted.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the audio of the meetings on the web, if not the video too.

Remember what did in Joe McCarthy -- not being crazy, not being drunk, but being on Network TV....