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[Fwd: [openhouseproject] Open Senate Project Launches]

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  • Josh Tauberer
    The Open Senate Project was launched today. This is a follow-up to the Open House Project, still a Sunlight Foundation project; this time I m co-coordinating
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 21 1:26 PM
      The Open Senate Project was launched today. This is a follow-up to the
      Open House Project, still a Sunlight Foundation project; this time I'm
      co-coordinating so you may see me being a bit more pro-active in getting
      all of your feedback on things over the next few months.

      The goal of OSP is, in my eyes, to document the state of affairs for the
      Senate's use of technology and to put forward attainable goals for
      better uses of technology in the public's interest, for transparency,
      oversight, civic participation, etc.

      I personally would like to see OSP take a more research-oriented
      approach to documenting the state of affairs, and I may need some help,
      if anyone is willing, to do some basic research on what the Senate does
      now with respect to technology.

      If you have thoughts or want to get involved in civic technology at a
      policy level, join the OSP mail list (which is the same as the OHP mail
      list)! See below!


      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: [openhouseproject] Open Senate Project Launches
      Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 11:51:13 -0400
      From: John Wonderlich <johnwonderlich@...>
      Reply-To: openhouseproject@...
      To: openhouseproject@...

      Sunlight has just sent out the following press release

      announcing the launch of the Open Senate Project

      As Ellen blogged this morning, we're delighted to have Majority Leader
      Reid's endorsement of the effort, so we can apply the same public
      discussion and analysis to Senate reform priorities as we've applied to
      the House <http://www.theopenhouseproject.com/>.

      We have created a separate blog site to track discussion and
      developments, and to collect resources, but we'll be using the same
      google group <http://groups.google.com/group/openhouseproject> for
      Senate discussion, since duplicating the collection of people following
      this list would be impossible, and much of the discussion here already
      applies to both chambers (and often the executive).

      I'm also happy to announce that Jon Henke and Josh Tauberer have agreed
      to help coordinate the discussion and preparation of the recommendations
      report; the effort will certainly benefit from the expertise they can offer.

      Finally, I'd like to offer my gratitude to everyone for contributing and
      following along as we work our way through Congress's public face --
      this project's strength comes from the (sometimes heated) dialog and
      debate on this list. This email list is all the evidence we need that
      public interaction can bring substance and weight to even the most
      obscure or administrative of policy issues, and that a shared stake in
      policy outcomes can coalesce disparate communities into something forceful.

      Thanks also to Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has acknowledged the
      value of public dialog by taking a proactive step in welcoming a
      conversation outside the comfortable boundaries of political party, the
      institutions of Congress, and the world of familiar advisers and trusted
      staff. Even though nothing in the report is binding in any way, Reid's
      embrace of such an open forum will help encourage technological
      advances, and demonstrate how even a traditional and collegial
      institution such as the US Senate can take advantage of new communities
      forming online.

      I'm looking forward to working with Senate leaders and staff from both
      parties, and kicking off the conversation soon about what the Senate
      might do differently.

      The Sunlight Foundation Launches Open Senate Project with Majority
      Leader Reid's Endorsement

      /Collaborative Effort Will Advocate for Transparency in Senate/


      October 21, 2008

      Contact: Gabriela Schneider 202/742-1520

      WASHINGTON, DC – As part of its efforts to work with Congress on how to
      make itself more open in the Internet age, the Sunlight Foundation is
      launching The Open Senate Project <http://theopensenateproject.com/>.
      This bipartisan, collaborative initiative will study the Senate's
      current information-sharing practices to recommend how to improve public
      access to the Senate's work on the Web.

      This project is modeled off of Sunlight's parallel initiative, the Open
      House Project <http://theopenhouseproject.com/>. Founded in 2007, the
      Open House Project catalyzed public discussion of congressional

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has endorsed Sunlight's Open Senate
      Project. "I welcome ideas for how the U.S. Senate can use technology and
      the Internet to create more transparency for the operations of the U.S.
      Senate, and to bring us closer to our constituents," said Senate
      Majority Leader Harry Reid, in response to the project's launch. "To
      that end, I look forward to the recommendations from the Open Senate
      Project, which will be an open, public collaborative effort."

      Through an email list and blog, open government leaders from inside and
      outside Congress and citizens alike will develop recommendations for
      attainable technological reforms. John Wonderlich, program director for
      the Sunlight Foundation, will lead the effort in collaboration with
      project coordinators Josh Tauberer, creator of the nonpartisan Web site
      GovTrack.us <http://govtrack.us/>, and Jon Henke, a former Senate
      staffer who now blogs at TheNextRight.com <http://thenextright.com/>.
      Sunlight encourages citizens to give their input by joining the group's
      email list <http://groups.google.com/group/openhouseproject>.

      "We are excited that Senate leaders have recognized the importance of
      public oversight and evaluation of their online transparency, and we
      look forward to working with them," said John Wonderlich. "This
      initiative will give more citizens a voice to advocate for
      straightforward reforms to strengthen digital access to the work of the

      The Open House Project was successful in jump-starting a public
      discussion that resulted in improvements in the methods that the House
      of Representatives uses to make its work available online, including
      releasing legislative data in more user-friendly formats and
      establishing new rules that allow lawmakers to use Web services like
      YouTube and Twitter to communicate with their constituents. A full
      review of the project's progress is available here

      The Open Senate Project will present its recommendations to Senate
      leaders in the spring of 2009.

      /The Sunlight Foundation supports, develops and deploys new Internet
      technologies to make information about Congress and the federal
      government more accessible to the American people. Through its projects
      and grant-making, Sunlight serves as a catalyst to create greater
      political transparency and to foster more openness and accountability in
      government. Visit SunlightFoundation.com
      <http://sunlightfoundation.com/> to learn more about Sunlight's
      projects, including PublicMarkup.org <http://publicmarkup.org/>,
      EarmarkWatch.org <http://earmarkwatch.org/> and OpenCongress.org

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