Joining the nation's growing proliferation of political Web logs, or blogs, the Utah site was the first of its kind to strike up a digital dialogue that included entries not just from state Senate Republicans but also from minority Democrats and lawmakers in the opposite chamber. Unfolding comment by comment, the unofficial daily log often paralleled official debate taking place under the dome -- with the added bonus of anonymity.From Power blogging debuts in Utah capitol
Referenced Fri May 12 2006 10:23:04 GMT-0600 (MDT)
Ric Cantrell, on the Senate Staff, is the guy who makes it all work, but the blog features posts from Senators in the majority and even some in the minority. Plus, in a big nod to openness, the blog has comments open, giving anyone a chance to feedback to the writers.
Last year, for example. Sen. Chris Buttars posted about his "origins or life" bill (which eventually died in the House) and there were 99 comments. Did they change Buttar's mind? No. But they were a more effective way for the public to comment than we've ever had before.
What makes this blog work is what makes every blog work in the end: writing that interests people, openness, and a human voice. This isn't a collection of press releases. These are posts by real people, explaining in their own words why they're doing what they're doing. I think it's very effective and a great example of using IT in service of democracy. Add to that the fact that it cost about $150 to set up and you have to love it.