Our proposal would allow citizens to track bills

To the Editor:

Imagine the online ability to track any Albany County law or proposal from your home or smartphone. Imagine instant access to the voting record of any county legislator.

Two Albany County legislators, one Democrat and one Republican, have proposed a sweeping modernization plan for the legislature that will make it more citizen-friendly than ever before.

Legislator Lynne Lekakis, a Democrat representing part of Albany, and I have proposed the bill in our roles as co-chairs of the Modernization Task Force.

The resolution would allow any citizen or media member to track the status of a proposal from its inception to final disposition. It would also allow immediate online access to members’ votes and attendance records.

The modernization plan would provide a searchable database so a constituent could put in a topic (for example, redistricting) and find the list of votes on the topics, with links to the resolution description and voting histories.

It would also drastically reduce the thousands of sheets of paper used each month for committees and legislative meetings by creating electronic documents for all of them. The public would have unfettered access to all such documents.

I believe 21st-Century communication is about transparency and engagement. This comprehensive plan will make it much easier for citizens to understand and follow what we are doing and therefore be more likely to become part of the discussion.

We submitted the resolution on May 3 and it was referred to the finance and law committees for review at Monday night's legislative meeting. Be sure to let your individual legislator know how much you would enjoy such access to your county government.

Mark Grimm


Editor’s note: Mark Grimm represents part of Guilderland in the Albany County Legislature.

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