Majority Continues National Leadership on Using Technology to Foster Open Government
The Senate Democratic Majority has continued their commitment to an open, transparent and participatory government, launching the nation’s first mobile legislative application: “NYSenate Mobile”.
“NYSenate Mobile” was built entirely in-house by Senate staff, at no additional cost to taxpayers. Because the Majority has taken to creating and developing technology in-house, the Senate has been able to cancel unnecessary maintenance and service contracts amounting to more than $500,000 in savings annually so far – all part of the Senate Democrats commitment to reducing the size and cost of government across the board.
Available at no cost in the iTunes Store, “NYSenate Mobile” can be downloaded for Apple iPhones and iPod Touch. It is also available in the Android Marketplace for Android-based phones such as the Verizon Droid or Nexus One. The Senate is expecting to release the application for Blackberry devices by this summer. This application has also been released as open-source software, meaning other legislatures, as well as non-profit organizations, media and small businesses are free to leverage the software to develop their own custom mobile legislative applications.
Citizens and journalists can now use the application to search for bill information, event calendars, blogs of individual Senators, watch archived video of Senate sessions, or reach their Senator. Using the built-in GPS device, users can also find which Senator represents where they are standing at any moment.
“Good government, is open government. Just two years ago, New Yorkers were locked out of the legislative process,” said Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson. “The former Majority required a $2,500 subscription to access a confusing and convoluted legislative tracking program, but our use of technology allows the taxpayers into the process, for free. It also reduces the overall costs of Senate operations. This is open government in real time.”
Open Government is Accountable Government: nysenate.gov
“NYSenate Mobile” is the latest in a series of “Open Senate” projects initiated by Senate Democrats which seek to maximize the transparency and accessibility of legislative information for all New Yorkers. Soon after winning the Majority, Senate Democrats launched a comprehensive website which includes “OpenLegislation” a service that provides the public with free and immediate access to timely legislative data.
NYSenate.gov, launched in 2009, provides all 62 senators for the first time, regardless of party, unfettered access to state-of-the-art public websites which are maintained in-house to save taxpayers money.
Not only does nysenate.gov provide immediate access to the legislative process, it also includes social networking capabilities as well as a more robust search functionality, including an archive of all legislative activity and the ability for New Yorkers to comment or “mark up” legislation being considered.