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Schlossberg Promotes Legislative Crowdsourcing

Rep. Schlossberg
Rep. Schlossberg

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken over much of the world’s culture, and State Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) wants Pennsylvania to get a jump on its benefits.

He wants to use it for “crowdsourcing”, where invited individuals and groups would come together and brainstorm solutions for policy problems facing the state.

“With Pennsylvania’s diverse geography, we have the opportunity to bring together the expertise and experiences of leaders from across the commonwealth to solve problems and to improve our state’s economic competitiveness,” Schlossberg said. “While this approach is nothing new, it is a cutting-edge approach for elected officials.”

Schlossberg wants to use Facebook as the platform.The Facebook group is called “Crowdsourcing Pennsylvania,” and he invites both constituents and legislators to come together there and discuss ideas. His approach in using and fine-tuning social media crowdsourcing will encompass three phases:

• Phase One – Solicit input on three or four general areas of concern for most or all urban areas across Pennsylvania.

• Phase Two – Using the most agreed-upon topics, start to develop specific solutions for each area of concern.

• Phase Three – Present drafted bills to the group and request input and suggestions for improvement.

“Our objective with Crowdsourcing Pennsylvania is to utilize the wisdom of our citizens to develop specific solutions to problems that are plaguing urban areas in our commonwealth,” Schlossberg said. “Specifically, we want to turn their ideas into legislative proposals — and in the long term, laws and programs that can improve urban Pennsylvania.”

Schlossberg, who has already embraced social media in his work, cited Finland and Iceland as two successful examples, saying that they used crowdsourcing to draft new constitutions. California has also used the technique on a bill regarding probate policy.

Of course, with crowdsourcing being a relatively new technique in politics, Schlossberg said that it’s important for all who choose to participate to remember that not every topic or suggestion will definitely result in a proposal, nor will every proposal become a law.

A few of his fellow PA legislators have already joined Schlossberg in the group: Rep. Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna), Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) and Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-York).

2 Responses

  1. I’m proud to call him my current State Representative. He won’t be my State Representative stating in December 2013/January 2014 because I’ll be switched to the newly redistricted 22nd. Hopefully this honor will be granted to current Allentown City Councilmen Peter Schweyer.

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