With legislation largely done by professional staff and politicians working behind closed doors, it is no wonder that rates of trust in Congress are at historic lows. Lobbyists vying for precious face time with Members and constituents’ emails and letters piling up are fueling the demand from lawmakers and the public alike for innovative and efficient ways to tap into the public’s expertise and know-how. Crowdlaw is what GovLab calls the use of the Internet to enable people to participate in one or more stages of the lawmaking process, including but not limited to problem identification, solution identification, proposal drafting, ratification, implementation or evaluation.
Sponsored by the Democracy Fund, the CrowdLaw for Congress project explores how lawmaking bodies around the world are turning to CrowdLaw or the use of new technology to foster an efficient two-way conversation with the public to the end of improving the quality and the legitimacy of lawmaking.
Building on its experience working with public partners to design, implement and research the use of new technologies for governing, the Governance Lab at New York University in collaboration with the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is launching a series of five videos detailing the many ways legislatures around the world are using CrowdLaw practices successfully to engage with the public at each stage of lawmaking. The videos are accompanied by in-depth case studies examining CrowdLaw initiatives, a series of online interviews with politicians and congressional staff offering vivid detail of how and why their parliaments are turning to online engagement to improve lawmaking. The CrowdLaw Playbook offers a downloadable guide with practical how-to's for introducing 21st century lawmaking techniques here in the United States.