May 17, 1995 in City

Computerized Information Service Planned

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane non-profit group intends to launch a computer service that would give users a one-stop source of information on government legislation.

If its organizers can raise enough money, the Citizen Connection will start this fall, said the group’s president, Robert Hager.

The service would give quick, unbiased updates on federal, state and local legislation as it is introduced and voted on.

People would be able to use the service at no cost, added Hager, an engineer with a firm designing drill sensors for the mining industry.

The idea of the Citizen Connection has evolved over the past five years, he said.

After researching how the federal government spends money, Hager said, he realized how frustrated and angry voters must be trying to stay informed about legislative matters.

Hager and the group’s board of directors gave a demonstration of the service Tuesday at Gonzaga University.

Using Internet links to other agencies, the service can provide voters with copies of bills or summaries of how they would change existing laws.

Users also would get summaries of comments from people opposing and supporting the bills.

Citizen Connection users also would be able to cast “yes” or “no” votes on proposed bills. Vote totals then would be forwarded to legislators as an unofficial poll, Hager said.

“The goal is giving people a non-partisan, useful way to shake off frustration and take charge of this great nation,” Hager said.

The group’s board is comprised of business and education representatives, including David Buxton of Gonzaga University’s Regional Information Services.

Hager said he expects operating costs of about $100,000 per year. Some of that money will pay college students who will compile and summarize bills for users.

The group hopes to raise that money largely through corporate sponsorship.

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