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Making State Legislation Accessible for All

Reposted from: http://www.govtransformers.com/james-ferreira

All my life, I’ve been passionate about social justice. In 2006, I proudly became the CIO for New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, where I help make our operations as efficient and transparent as possible.
One of the most important responsibilities at the Attorney General’s office is to review and give feedback to our state Senators and House members on proposed legislation. Our job is to make sure bills are both constitutional and affordable for the state. Once our analyses are complete, they become public information and can be shared with citizens, lobbyists, and other interested parties. However, to access a piece of legislation, community members had to send a request via email. It could take our office days to manually respond to all of the requests we received. Without an easy way for us to distribute the information, many of our citizens were unaware of our positions on proposed bills, which prevented them from getting involved with their local government.

In 2011, I created a solution using Google Apps Script that automatically posts our public comments online. When we email our analysis on a particular piece of legislation to a Senator or House member, a Google Apps Script grabs the attached analysis, names it to match the bill number, and uploads it to http://public-records.nmag.gov. The public can see the analysis seconds after it has been released.

The best part? It only took us one hour to create this solution. And even better, the Google Site is optimized for mobile devices so the public and our office staff can view important government documents when they are on the floor of the Senate or House chambers.

Having a centralized place for our community to access public records has helped encourage our citizens to take part in their government. To me, that’s what our country is all about.

Please visit http://GoogleScriptExamples.com for information on how to Automate and Integrate your Google Apps.

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Jeff Ribeira

Ditto. Sounds really cool James! I’d be interested to hear more about how you actually went about setting up the Google Apps Script on your site. I think it’s an awesome service that has tons of potential for government folks to streamline their daily activities. I’d be willing to bet though, that there are a number of folks who just don’t know where to start, and would make for a great case study/quick tutorial.