State Senate Completes Historic 21st Century Re-launch of its Official Public Website

October 07, 2015

New Interactive Features Better Connect Legislators and Their Constituents; Allow Users to Track Legislation and Issues Important to Them in Real-time; Conform With All Mobile Devices So New Yorkers Can Watch Live Senate Events On The Go

The New York State Senate has completed a transformational 21st Century re-launch of its official public website, providing users with fresh, interactive ways to make their voices heard and spark meaningful two-way dialogue between legislators and the constituents they represent.
        
Instead of simply broadcasting messages to the public, the Senate’s new and improved site will empower New Yorkers to more easily participate in their state government - - from tracking the status of important bills in real-time to receiving periodic updates on issues they care about - - and providing their immediate input and feedback on anything and everything that is happening in Albany.
        
This interactive website is the first-ever of its kind in any Legislature in the entire country.  All Senators, both Democrat and Republican, will have identical use of the site.

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “The Senate’s new and interactive website is an historic redesign that was two years in the making and is geared toward helping legislators listen to and respond to their constituents in a better and more efficient way.  This groundbreaking tool for democracy will get New Yorkers more involved and more invested in all aspects of their state government and will change the way we serve them for the better.  I am proud that the New York State Senate is leading the way and doing something that no other Legislature in America has done.”
    
Senate Coalition Co-Leader Jeff Klein said, “This is democracy millennium-style. Our revamped website allows New Yorkers to participate in government at home on a laptop or on-the-go on a cell phone. In our digital age, the Senate's website links constituents to representatives and allows innovative interactions. New York is once again leading the way with the most advanced site of any Legislature in the United States.”

The new format and design of the Senate’s site now conforms to all mobile devices, allowing interested New Yorkers to watch live Senate events, committee meetings and public hearings wherever they are on their phones and tablets. 
    
Good government advocates lauded the new site as an innovative and welcome improvement that will foster a stronger and more participatory democracy.

“We’re impressed. This is probably the best legislative website in the country. It’s easy to use, works perfectly on a phone, and includes all kinds of new tools for quickly connecting New Yorkers to their senators, and issues they care about,” said John Kaehny, Executive Director of Reinvent Albany.

“The New York State Senate has built the most comprehensive, accessible, usable, and effective public facing legislative online platform in the country,” said Andrew Rasiej, Founder of Civic Hall and Chairman of NY Tech Meetup.  “What the New York Senate has done to improve the experience for citizens of New York State to participate in their democracy is truly the new standard that every state in the union should now emulate and follow.”

“The New York State Senate has raised the bar for America's legislatures with a user-focused online presence that is wonderful to behold,” said Seamus Kraft, Executive Director of The OpenGov Foundation.  “Other states should take note of what is possible when good design, empowered citizens, and hard-working legislative staff come together on the web.”

“The New York Senate’s new website uses cutting-edge technology to address a major concern of legislators and constituents: making sure citizen voices are heard and legislators have a meaningful way to respond. It likely is the most citizen-centric legislative website in all 50 states,” said Daniel Schuman, Policy Director at Demand Progress.

The redesign was performed in partnership with Code and Theory, an award-winning design and development agency known for its work with Bloomberg, NBC Olympics, and the Huffington Post.  The work was procured according to standard state contract process guidelines.

The Senate’s website can be found at www.nysenate.gov