A completely revamped version of the General Assembly’s website was launched Tuesday to give the public better access to a wide array of legislative information, including bill text and history, votes in the Senate and the House, committee meetings and votes, and much more, legislative leaders announced.
“This is a total overhaul,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware), a strong proponent of open government initiatives and chairman of the Legislative Data Processing Committee, the body which oversees and manages the General Assembly’s website. “Transparency builds confidence in government, and we rebuilt the website from the ground up so that it’s easier than ever for the public to follow and comment on the work of the General Assembly.”
Some of the most prominent features of the redesigned website include:
— a front page that highlights current, relevant content such as convening times for the Senate and House, upcoming committee meetings and recent votes;
— new pages for the Senate and the House which highlight recent roll call votes and scheduled committee meetings;
— buttons on nearly every page which make it easy for users to share that page on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn; and
— the ability to track bill and committee activity through the free PaLegis Notifications email system.
“The extensive updates and changes to the General Assembly website are part of an ongoing effort to create a more open and transparent state government,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson). “With the total renovation of the site, our hope is that individuals will now have increased accessibility to legislative documents and information.”
“The General Assembly’s new website is more than just a refreshed design,” said Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Jefferson). “We put a lot of time and effort into re-structuring and re-designing the site to provide a better and easier user experience.”
“There is nothing more important than open government,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). “By redesigning the website, we further our commitment to provide information in the easiest and most accessible way for all Pennsylvanians.”
“We wanted the website to present information in the quickest and most organized way so all Pennsylvanians can access the state legislature in an easy-to-use format,” said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). “As our official online portal, we hope our constituents use it and agree.”
“Pennsylvanians deserve a state government that is transparent and provides easy access to information about their elected officials and the work we do here in the General Assembly,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny). “From information about bills and committee meetings to email and Twitter updates, this redesigned website virtually brings the legislature to you.”
Additional features of the new site include:
— easier tools to help residents identify their legislators and find the text of bills being considered;
— new Google Calendar and iCal features, making it easy to add upcoming committee meetings to the user’s personal calendar;
— integrated, relevant tweets from the nonpartisan @PaLegis Twitter account;
— a new “popular pages” tab on the front page, giving instant access to the most-visited pages on the website;
— an enhanced executive nominations section, which includes links to roll call votes, nomination letters, and Statements of Financial Interest;
— easier site navigation, with relevant additional information in the right column; and
— an entirely new, user-friendly look and feel throughout the website.
Sen. Pileggi said the redesign was completed by existing legislative personnel at no additional cost to the taxpayers. “The staff of the Legislative Data Processing Center did amazing work,” he said. “I can’t compliment them enough.”
The legislative leaders encouraged the public to comment on the new site using the Twitter hashtag #PAGAwebsite or by clicking on the email link in the top right corner of every page on the new site.For more information, visit the General Assembly’s new website.