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Charles Lambert
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microsoft buld conference starts in 5
Our live coverage of Microsoft's Build keynote has started! Join us:
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So true
SPACE • TECH • NASA's Doing Something Right
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I've been waiting for them to come out with something like this for quite some time.
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AwesomeGamerWallpaper • can you name them?
• via ► http://goo.gl/zwdg0
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Now that's how you take a dirt road!
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its true
OMG, the cute... THE CUUUUUUUTE!!!

(via +Buddy O'Proof )
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politics too confusing for you? How about being able to see what congress is up to all in one place. http://www.popvox.com
My response to +Tim O'Reilly 's comment
"Reflections on PopVox, and What It Helps Me See About Congress"


Thanks for the comment, Tim! Many are shocked at the number of bills (over 10,000 currently between the House and Senate)... BUT:

For those who want to see more public input into how laws are made, these various approaches are actually good news.

To continue the analogy of law as code and government as a platform, let's jump to the front-end and think of these small bills that address a narrow topic as "features requests". There is a problem to be solved that has many facets, and each Member of Congress hears from advocates and constituents about one element of the problem. They propose a solution, they introduce a bill. That is just the starting point. Now it's time to test.

Just as a startup would show mock-ups to potential customers, a bill at this stage is designed for feedback. Think of it as +Eric Ries MVP #leanstartup landing page. What do the organizations that study this topic have to say? What do constituents say? How much would it cost? Is it getting traction in the form of co-sponsorships? Has the media even noticed? Can the people who asked for it in the first place build a constituency for it?

A great time to receive that feedback is when the groups on a certain issue arrange their "fly-ins" to coincide with the National You-Name-It Awareness Month. That's when real constituents come to Washington to hear an update on their topic and go visit their Members of Congress in person. Coordinating around a special week or month means there more focus on the issue, perhaps a hearing for news coverage.

While that may look like chaos outside the beltway, it is actually a pretty functional way for Congress to receive "customer feedback". We at +POPVOX are just trying to provide a platform for all of this to take place online in a transparent way.

So what's the next step for these bills? Some may languish for years, with the same advocates pushing for reintroduction of the same bill every Congress.. sometimes the only way to make progress is showing support through multiple Congresses, getting co-sponsors who reliably sign on each time the bill is introduced. (And some will never progress.)

A small bill may get considered on the House Floor. Uncontroversial bills are usually "suspension" bills, dismissing with full procedure and passing with 3/4 majority -- naming a day or a week usually falls in that category.

The other path is to get wrapped up with other bills into a larger bill -- either as a large policy change or as incremental parts of other policies.

In this case, if Congress were to decide to consider the The Autism and Tourettes Act of 2012 (which would contain some clever acronym), it would pick up several of the small related bills that have had traction and make them part of the larger bill to address autism and tourette-related issues as a whole. That is a big lift, and a comprehensive bill like that usually only comes after years of work by advocates and constituents building support, agreeing on an approach, and courting Congressional champions.

Alternately, small bills frequently get rolled up into larger related bills, so the military appropriations act might pick up the bill to ensure that children with autism in military families are covered by Tricare.

In all of these cases, however, the vetting stage is important. The introduction of many small bills to address a problem in different ways is an opportunity for the public to weigh in and for Congress to make better policy.

Now if there were only a platform to make all of this digestible… :-)
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very epic
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