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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Contacting Frankfort Lawmakers About to Get a Whole Lot Easier

The Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort is home to the Kentucky General Assembly/Wikipedia
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Ever gotten the feeling that, when you call your state senator or representative to make them aware of a problem or issue, that your message is falling on deaf ears?

Well, according to a recent report from Louisville's NPR affiliate, WFPL, communicating your concerns to lawmakers in Frankfort is about to get easier.

Any personal feelings about the efficiency of government aside, in Kentucky anyway, the feeling that you are not being heard might be justified purely because of the procedure for taking messages for lawmakers.

According to the report, when a Kentucky resident calls, say, his or her state senator, an employee of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission records the message on a green slip of paper -- yes, paper -- and sends it to the lawmaker in question.

This happens tens of thousands of times each legislative session.

But starting next year, a new messaging system will go into effect, which would replace the "green slip" system with an instant, electronic messaging system that will connect a constituent with his or her lawmaker instantaneously.

Marcia Seiler, acting director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, is in charge of making the transition. "I had heard from various staff and legislators and, in viewing the process, seen that we needed to modernize and make this mode of communication between citizens and legislators more modern, more efficient," she is quoted as saying by WFPL.

The new system still fails to address, the report points out, concerns of transparency in legislative communication, in that there is still no way for state residents to know just how responsive the General Assembly is to the concerns it hears from constituents.

The new system will be implemented in January 2015.

Here is WFPL's full report.

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