Richmond Sunlight: Bill Tracking for the Masses!

The Virginia LIS (Legislative Information System) offers a “Lobbyist in a Box” option that folks/groups can use for tracking bills of interest as the Legislature works on them. Unfortunately, this is highly limited unless you happen to have piles of $$$ laying around unused, or have someone else footing the bill! If you sign up as an individual you can track up to 5 bills at a time for free. For $600 ($400 for state agencies) you can track all the bills you want and have multiple profiles and generate email notices and reports. I have neither so I don’t use it. I use RichmonSunlight instead! Why? Because it’s easy to use and more importantly, it is free!

“Mapping Congress”

There is a very kewl interactive map available  on United States House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives website. You can find the map here: Choose the range of Congresses you want to see how each state was represented. It goes from the 1st through the 114th Congess. Select the data that you are interested in seeing: Women in Congress Black Americans in Congress Hispanic Americans in Congress and more

Fact Checking & Money In Politics

There are now 2 new pages on (Patience, please. There’s only one of me and it takes time to check out sites and get things on the website. I plan to work on it a bit every day and it will NEVER be finished! So, the 2 new pages? Be A Fact Checker   &    Money In Politics These pages contain links to tools that any citizen with Internet access (they do have computers at most public libraries these days) can use to check out those news stories/fake news stories that are abundant on the Internet. Being informed and verifying the truth of things is one of the most important things that any citizen can do. Don’t simply accept what you are told. Heck! I don’t even believe myself until I’ve verified what I’ve said! Seriously though, in recent years, the Internet has become a cesspool of misinformation coming at us from every possible angle. Continue Reaading …

What can the US President Really Do?

I found myself laughing quite a bit during the campaign season with candidates for President saying what they were going to do. They either did not understand the limits of Presidential power or they figured voters did not understand them. As I talk to folks both pre and post election, I found that it is the latter of those that is most likely. (Although I’m not real sure that one or more of the candidates had a pretty loose understanding of limits.) So I set out to try to come up with something that would make the information more available to everyone and discovered that the topic had already been covered quite well in an Oct. 31, 2016 article in U.S.News by Gabrielle Levy. “What Can the President Really Do?” The author does a great job of avoiding “legalize” and talking “plain text” instead.

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

I had going for a long time, but it fell into disuse due to some other things taking priority. Well, it’s looking like it is time to start it up again. Over the next several weeks/months, I will be building information about various tools that any person can use to monitor the performance of government and elected officials. Resources for watching government at the federal, state, and local levels will be provided along with some discussion on how and why to use them. Voting is important, but it is even more important to be an informed voter. These tools will help provide that knowledge.