Interactive Legislation? Really?

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is initiating an interesting experiment that brings ordinary citizens to the table to help draft legislation. Starting tonight, Senator Durbin will be holding discussions for four nights to discuss ideas about establishing a national broadband strategy.

From Senator Durbin's post at OpenLeft:
There are two reasons I'm asking for your help and participation. The first is because I think we need more public participation and transparency in the way Congress crafts significant legislation. This is an approach to legislation that has never been tried before. If it's successful -- as I believe it will be -- it may become the way lawmakers approach drafting bills on other issues like education, health care, and foreign policy.

The second reason I'm doing this is because broadband policy is one of the most important public policy issues today. Frankly, America does not have a national broadband strategy, and we are falling behind. That means our families don't have access to the best medical technologies, our students don't have access to the best educational opportunities, and our entrepreneurs are limited in the markets they can access.
You know, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with this. On the surface, this really does look like an invitation for public participation in government policy and legislation (yes, baby-steps.. I know). I really like the idea, especially since I've long felt that elected officials seem too detached from their constituency, and are only interested in what gets them back into DC for another couple of years. In such a cynical world, it's quite a ray of hope to see that for four nights someone might actually care what we think.

Let's see how this one plays out.

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