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Now taking nominations: Which bills should we track through the Newsriver?

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

As of today, the Olympia Newsriver is officially one week old. The legislative session in Olympia is well underway, with lawmakers facing the difficult challenge of trying to close a huge budget shortfall without much federal aid or the ability to democratically raise revenue.

We want the Olympia Newsriver to be useful to as many progressive activists as possible in the days and weeks ahead. That’s why we’re taking nominations for bills to track. You can nominate a bill simply by leaving a comment on this post, and we’ll track it. At minimum, nominations must include a bill number. You can optionally link to the bill page at the Legislature’s website if you like, or describe your interest in the bill, but that’s not required.

The floor is open for nominations – go ahead and leave a comment! This thread will remain open for at least twenty-one days.

The Newsriver is born…

We’re off and running!

Today marks the opening of the 2011 legislative session in Olympia, at our state’s Capitol Campus. We’ve witnessed many sessions kick off over the years, but we’re particularly excited for this one, because from day one, we’ll be tracking legislation that progressives care about through the site you see before you.

The Olympia Newsriver has been a long time in the making. We’ve always wanted to build a robust bill tracker, but previous attempts to do so were extremely challenging, because of several obstacles we had to work around. During the summer of 2010, we finally broke down the last of the hurdles that had prevented us from moving ahead. And now, we’re ready to track!

A quick overview of the site:

  • The home page is where all the bill tracking happens. Mouse over an action item for any bill to take a quick peek at the bill summary.
  • About the Project will explain more about the history of the Newsriver, the choice of name, and how you can help us track priority legislation.
  • Morning Rundown is a daily digest that is published on weekdays. It’s a wrap or a roundup of stories and posts specifically about legislation and happenings in and around the state Capitol. Rundown entries are archived as posts when they are generated, so you can always see a snapshot of the activity that happened on that day.
  • Legislative Process is an explanatory page which uses simple, large flow charts to explain how a bill becomes a law.

Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Send us a note. We’d love to hear from you.