Articles From October 2011
The results are in from the first (almost a) week of the Super Committee Hub on POPVOX.
The following graphs reflect those who weighed in from the time the page was live (Oct 23) until Saturday October 30 at midnight.
All positions have been sent to the individual's Member of Congress and Senators. The aggregated chart, with links to full comments is being sent to Members of the Super Committee and their staff.
As you can see below:
- The proposal that provoked the most activity was the Millionaire's Tax, proposed by the Ways and Means Committee Minority, with 265 weighing in: 64% support; 36% oppose.
- The second most active was the elimination of commodity crop subsidies, with 166 weighing in.
- At 96% supporting, the elimination of commodity crop subsidies was also the most popular (by percent) proposal on the list.
- The second most popular proposal (by percent) was Reducing Spending on Non-DoD Federal Service Contractors by 15 Percent, with 90% supporting.
- The proposal with the least support support, by percent, was the raising of Medicare premiums at 75% opposing.
- The second most opposed proposal was Increasing TRICARE Drug Co-pays, with 63% opposing.
The proposals will remain on the list and individuals can continue to weigh in.
In addition, nine new proposals were added. Weigh in and let Congress know what you think!
- Employee Misclassification Prevention Act
- New Spectrum Auction
- Preserve Access to Affordable Generics
- Big Bank fee
- Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act
- Tax carried interest as ordinary income
- End oil and gas tax preferences
- Derivatives and Speculation Tax
- Chained CPI
As with every bill and resolution on POPVOX:
- Proposals are presented in a neutral manner, listing positions from organizations that have taken a public position on the proposals
- Any organization can create a profile and post their positions to endorse or oppose the proposals
- You have the option to “support” or “oppose” any of the proposals
- You are encouraged to write a message to Congress that will be sent to your Representative and Senators, and appear publicly on POPVOX (without your personal information.) We will send weekly summaries of input received through POPVOX to the Super Committee staff.
- You can share comments via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email to build support for your position.
Unlike bills that have been introduced in Congress, compiling proposals that may be considered by the Super Committee is not a precise exercise. While the President, Congressional Committees and numerous think tanks have submitted proposals, the Committee has not yet made public which are on its short list for consideration. At this point, signs seem to indicate that much is still “on the table,” which makes it a perfect time for Congress to hear from constituents.
The list we have compiled is not comprehensive. It is a sample of the proposals that have been submitted. We tried to pull those in a variety of categories, and those that represented reductions of over $1 billion over ten years. We have included spending cuts and revenue raisers. We have started with a list of 13 and will continue to add and refine the list, based on news reports and input from our users. If you would like to suggest proposals that should be listed (either because you wish to show support or opposition), please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an experiment in featuring non-bill proposals on POPVOX and we greatly appreciate your input on how you think it works.
There are a few things the POPVOX team doesn’t like: civic laziness, widget glitches, rainy D.C. days, and of course, saying goodbye. It is with fond wishes that we say goodbye to one of our excellent summer interns, Josh Lewis (or as we know him, JLew, to avoid confusion with our CTO, Josh Tauberer).
While he started off the internship debugging Internet Explorer problems, Josh ultimately transitioned into full front-end implementation and design. He helped the POPVOX team create the Write Congress widget, the bill text widget, and came up with the POPVOX envelope and stamp graphic that you see when you check your address on your message to Congress.
“I love the pride and ambition the POPVOX crew puts into their work and brand. Everyone at POPVOX is amazing and talented. They’re definitely some of the coolest people I've ever worked with.”
The feeling is definitely mutual.
Josh is taking his good attitude and polished design skills on the road -- quite literally. He just recently participated in the the StartupBus Intel event, where teams of strangers load onto a touring bus and have 48 hours to design, build and launch a startup. Josh’s team won 2nd place. “I really love the startup culture,” said Josh, “I want to be more involved in it later on in my future.” In the meantime, Josh plans to continue working with design and user experiences at a marketing agency.
Don’t let his age fool you; Josh has his own youthful wisdom to impart. “I believe in doing what you love,” he said, “and I certainly love beautiful, pixel-perfect design which brings meaningful experiences to users.”
The POPVOX team wishes Josh the best in his future internships, education, jobs, and wherever else his adventures take him.
October 17, 2011, WASHINGTON, DC — POPVOX, the transparent online platform for advocacy about bills in Congress, now enables anyone to embed the text of pending legislation on their own website.
“For years, the transparency community and others have been telling Congress to ‘read the bill’ before voting, said POPVOX CTO and co-founder, Josh Tauberer. “With these new tools from POPVOX, anyone writing about bills pending in Congress can help their audience ‘read the bill’ without leaving their site.
Bill text widgets are available on www.popvox.com, which aggregates information about pending bills and lets individuals weigh in with a message that is delivered to Congress. Every pending bill is available on POPVOX -- from health and energy, to defense, jobs, and the environment.
The bill text embed includes a keyword search and section-by-section table of contents created by POPVOX. To embed the bill text widget, just visit the POPVOX page for any bill, click the tab to “view bill text” and select “embed” from the menu bar at the bottom.
“This is one more way POPVOX is helping people stay informed about what is up for debate in Congress and share their opinions with Congress in an effective way,” said Tauberer.
POPVOX is a neutral, nonpartisan advocacy platform that meshes legislative data with individuals’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions and empowers users to leverage their expertise and numbers.
For more information, visit: www.popvox.com
Note from Marci: If you would like to see the widget in action, check out my Tumblr page, where I tested it out.
Dear POPVOX Community,
I am writing to let you know that we had a technical problem yesterday that caused some data on the site to be deleted.
The entire POPVOX team enormously regrets this inconvenience to our users. We want to make sure that we get the word out as soon and as transparently as possible so that anyone affected can return to the site to make sure that their message is sent to Congress.
We had planned to take the site offline for approximately an hour last night for maintenance and update. Unfortunately, due to a glitch in that process, we lost all data that had been collected during the hours of 8:46 AM Eastern until approximately midnight Eastern on Friday, October 14, 2011.
While we have restored the site, this unfortunately means that new accounts created and any positions taken during that time have been deleted. If yours was one of those new accounts, you will be contacted individually by email. At no point was security breached. All private information remains protected. You can view all comments you have left to check status and delivery by visiting your home page.
We, as individuals and as a company, take very seriously the trust you put in us to deliver your message to Congress. We strive everyday to make that process as efficient and accessible as possible, so that your voice is heard on Capitol Hill.
As CEO, I personally apologize for this error and assure you that we are taking every step to make sure it does not happen again.
We appreciate you so much for using POPVOX and look very forward to continuing to serve you in the future.
If you have questions regarding this or any other element of POPVOX, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.
Marci Harris, CEO
On Tuesday, the House will begin considering several free trade bills. So we're highlighting legislation related to trade. We hope you voice your point of view on these bills and share them with your friends, family and networks.
- The House begins consideration of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act on Tuesday (HR 3080)
- The United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the Senate (S 1642)
- The House begins consideration of the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act on Tuesday (HR 3078)
- The House begins consideration of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act on Tuesday (HR 3079)
- HR 29 provides for the withdrawal of the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement
- H.Res. 425 provides for consideration of the Senate amendment to the bill (HR 2832) to extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of the bill (HR 3078) to implement the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement; providing for consideration of the bill (HR 3079) to implement the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement; and providing for consideration of the bill (HR 3080) to implement the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement
- The Free and Fair Trade Act (S 433 and HR 913 ) extends certain trade preference programs
- The Free Trade with Cuba Act (HR 1887) lifts the trade embargo on Cuba
About Issue Spotlights on POPVOX
From time to time, we like to send POPVOX users an update of new bills by issue area. As in this example, if you weighed in on a bill about firearms, then you might receive an email from me alerting you to other firearms bills. (Full disclosure: while I think this idea is brilliant, it isn't mine. It was suggested by several POPVOX users -- so keep the suggestions coming!)
I'll be posting these issue suggestions here, in addition to my bill picks for the day (as I explained in an earlier post ).
Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn’t imply an endorsement in any way. Rather, we’re simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system. (Another way is to check out the “Trending Bills of the Week” .) As always, thanks for using POPVOX and I hope you stay in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter .
If you'd these issue spotlights and other bill updates from POPVOX delivered to you via email, get started here to subscribe.
We get a lot of questions about what the best way is to advocate for a particular legislative position. The answer of course varies by issue, by whom the natural supporters are, and where the bill stands in the process. But in general, below is a quick-point-by-point on how an individual can best maximize the POPVOX platform. We're busy working on tools to make this easier in the future. In the meantime, please let us know in the comment section if you have specific questions.
Stage 1 - Demonstrate real grassroots muscle using POPVOX
- Find your bill.
- Choose to support or oppose and write a compelling, personal message to Congress.
- Share your message (or any others that you like) with your network via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email. Ask everyone you know to take action. (There is a "share" link below every comment on POPVOX.)
- Tell appropriate organizations (of any size) to go take a position on the bill on POPVOX.
- As you drive input to POPVOX, your leverage increases -- Call your local* representative or Senator's office and say "have you seen the activity on X bill on POPVOX?"
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, noting sentiment, personal examples and comments on POPVOX.
Stage 2: Amplify your reach
- Write about the issue on a relevant discussion board and lead others to weigh in with POPVOX.
- Describe the issue in a blog post, telling others why you feel the way you do.
- If you are using a platform like Wordpress or Tumblr, you can embed a free POPVOX Write Congress Widget to drive your network to take action. (If I can do it, anyone can! :-) Here is what it looks like on my new Tumblr page.)
Stage 3: Target Key Votes
- Figure out who the key votes in Congress are on the issue (Check bill status to see what committee it has been referred to, note chairmen/women, ranking members.)
- Target your outreach to people who live in the districts* of those key votes -- have them Contact Congress through POPVOX (or a widget on your blog)
- Notify the local bloggers and press in the districts* of those key votes, quoting people from the local area
- Ask constituents* of those in key districts arrange a meeting at the district office to discuss the local impacts of the legislation.
- * Note the emphasis on constituents and recommendations that you only contact your Member of Congress. Our experience (and many studies) overwhelmingly show that Members of Congress only want to hear from their constituents. If you want to convince a Member of Congress of your position, convince their constituents and let THEM convince the Member.
POPVOX aggregates opinions on Mobile Informational Call Act
OCTOBER 4, 2011, WASHINGTON, DC―Individuals are using social media and the POPVOX advocacy platform to weigh in on a bill proposed in Congress that would allow informational calls, including “robocalls” to mobile phones. Within one day, over 3,000 people sent messages to their Members of Congress on H.R. 3035: The Mobile Informational Call Act -- almost 100% in opposition.
Shaun Dakin, CEO and Founder of the National Political Do Not Call Registry, used tools from POPVOX to turn followers into advocates. “I decided that action needed to be taken and created an opposition page on POPVOX where our members could go and register opposition and contact Members of Congress.” Dakin set up an action page on his website using the free POPVOX “Write Congress Widget” and used Twitter to alert followers of @EndTheRobocalls.
Someone from New Jersey’s 13th District wrote, “I oppose H.R. 3035 because I feel it is an invasion of my privacy. I should have the right to decide who gets my mobile phone number.” Comments are aggregated and searchable by Congressional district.
The StopPoliticalCalls.org campaign is an example of how the POPVOX platform helps individuals voice their concerns to Congress, aggregating many voices into quantified grassroots muscle. Since comments sent to Congress with POPVOX are also tallied and posted publicly on POPVOX, individuals can see both sides of the issue before writing an informed comment of their own. In this case, individuals can read the position statements of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and others in support of the Mobile Informational Call Act.
“POPVOX is easy to use and provides Congressional staffers with the key information they need: who is opposing the bill from their Member's district. With POPVOX I can have more confidence that Congress is listening to the voter,” said Dakin.
POPVOX is a neutral, nonpartisan advocacy platform that meshes legislative data with individuals’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions and empowers users to leverage their expertise and numbers. POPVOX provides a legislative dashboard for Congress and government aﬀairs professionals with bill status information, customized tracking, bill-speciﬁc advocacy information, and real-time constituent sentiment and comments. For more information, visit: www.popvox.com
(For media inquiries, please contact Marci Harris, POPVOX’s CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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