From: Ross A. Finlayson (raf@tiki-lounge.com)
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 13:19:02 MDT

What is the mechanism so that citizens may introduce legislation into
the legislature? I am aware there are mechanisms to get public
referendums on ballots by gathering a certain quantity of validated
signatures of citizens.

I guess what I am finding is a flaw in our representative democracy in
that the representatives aren't representative of the interests of the
people who elected them, for lack of any better one.

In this age of modern technology, we should use some of it to enable
cyber-grassroots mobilization. What has come to mind is a web interface
to a wwide variety of proposed legislation, a clearinghouse for it, as
it were. Say that as a U.S. citizen you can write suggested legislation
on any of a variety of topics that are legislatable. Then, legislation
is organized so that different topics and causes will have compromises
hammered, or separate proposals if they are incompatible. Then, as
legislation is developed in this virtual town hall federally and for
each region, separately or as one, then as legislation passes through a
public peer-review process and reaches the point where credible
volunteers vouch for its Consitutionality and value depending on other
merits, then the legislation is fast-tracked into the requisite forms
for each jurisdiction, ie, from electronic community, communication,
discussion, review, and mobilization, then the real world requirements
for placement in the processes of legislation are fulfilled, and the
virtual communities' mobilization is used locally and extra-locally to
satisfy any requirements, where some of the first legislation might be
to enable electronic satisfaction of the requirements.

As electronic signatures are now as valid as written signatures, they
may be used to denote citzens' affirmation of some proposeed legislation
to be considered for public referendum, or even to be de facto proposed
as sponsored by the locale in regular legislature.

This leads to some other issues, for example, a citizen may choose to
develop a profile of his/her views that are shared or not,
incrementally, depending upon his preferences about it.

This might be seen as being about reforming the government, but moreso
it is about making the government (here in the U.S.) more as it was
designed to be more than two hundred years ago, representative of its

Ross Finlayson

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