Make the Jump: Access and Transparency
By Jessica Flynn
Following a hiatus, we’ve come to grips with our nerdiness and are excited to resume our regular ‘Make the Jump’ blog posts focused on curating and sharing new tools, techniques, apps and content worth an extended look – at least from our point of view.
Out of the gate, a nod to the season here in Idaho minus (not the ice season) – the legislative session and the opportunities for extended access, information and education on the issues in play.
First up, a new app from an unlikely source:
Idaho Legislative Directory App | If you had asked me which lobbying group would be the first to create a Legislature-specific app, I would not have guessed the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. Happy to admit I would’ve been wrong on that bet.
Though I’m not an ‘under the dome’ communicator, keeping on top of what legislators are doing and how legislation is moving through the Statehouse impacts every one of us and our clients. This free app isn’t fancy or necessarily sexy – but that doesn’t matter. It is very user friendly from a pure informational standpoint, and also allows for dynamic tracking of bills that you want to keep tabs on. Well worth a download (on iPhone, iPad, Android devices).
Curious about Idaho’s revenue, expenditures, or details of what each state agency spends where? The new Transparent Idaho site – courtesy of the State Controller’s office – was built to shed light on all of that. Granted, it finally went live in 2013 after years of the state getting less than stellar grades for transparency in Sunshine law reports.
Per the site itself:
This site is designed to make the finances of the government of the State of Idaho more transparent to the citizens of Idaho. It provides a highly accurate look at the State’s budget, revenues, and spending, and how they have changed over the last 3-5 years. Also included are various financial reports and links to other sites providing detailed information regarding State spending.
Financial data supplied to the Idaho State Controller’s Office is provided by individual record submissions by each State Agency. Data is then extracted, reformatted and loaded into the State Controller’s Office data warehouse. All financial data for Transparent Idaho provided from this source is updated NIGHTLY, giving the citizens of Idaho a very realtime look at the financial transactions of State Government.
LiLI’s Citizen Resources
The one thing I love more than tons of data – is someone aggretating resources for me and making it easy to find, access and utilize that information. Props to LiLI (Libraries LInking Idaho – an online resource with full-text articles from magazines, professional journals, newspapers, and reference books free to all Idaho residents. Kudos to LiLI (Full disclosure: a former Red Sky client) for doing just that.
LiLI’s Resources for Idaho Citizens page has a great roundup of state and non-profit sources of information, from Stacks to help you find public information documents created by Idaho state agencies to an online media literacy program
And another great aggregation source is the news crew at StateImpact Idaho. While the statehouse journalists all provide daily updates and information on what happened in the legislature, I give props to Emilie and Molly at State Impact for pulling together the disparate bits of information on how to engage and contact your elected officials in their Guide to the 2013 Legislature.
Did I miss your favorite site/app for access and information concerning Idaho’s electeds and state agencies? Let me know!
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