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Lawmakers get 'Wikipedia for legislation' site

WashingtonWatch offers wiki to US officials

A new wiki designed to track and allow users to comment on pending federal legislation was launched this week.

The new WashingtonWatch.com site can be described as "Wikipedia for legislation”, said Jim Harper, founder of the site.

The site allows lawmakers, lobbyists, trade association officials and others with expertise on specific subjects to update wiki entries on pending federal legislation. The public can also add comments on legislation, Harper said.

In a statement, WashingtonWatch said it created the wiki to provide interest groups and individuals a source for the most current information about US federal legislation, including the status, how the proposed laws would affect existing programmes and law, the projected cost to taxpayers if passed, and pro and con arguments.

"WashingtonWatch.com provides a more user-friendly and interactive way for the public to learn about legislation than the Library of Congress site," Harper said. "It's all about government transparency."

Wiki users also can sign up to receive regular email alerts about new bills in Congress and about any changes to existing ones. The wiki will also allow users to access a searchable catalogue of legislation that is organised by topic. The wiki will also conduct online polls related to specific bills.

The wiki is funded by from the Sunlight Foundation, which also provides funds to the Center for Responsive Politics, OMB Watch and other non-profit US projects designed to "increase government transparency and reduce government corruption", WashingtonWatch said.


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