Technology Tools to stay current on public policy issues

Published: March 8, 2018

By Anthony Maggard            

Do you care about making policy changes but think you have no time to make your voice heard? There are ways to stay involved with local public policy issues without having to camp out at your local state house. It’s a busy world out there and it can be hard to work, care for your family, and make your voice heard on the political front. Fortunately, technology now makes it possible to stay up to date and be active on issues you care about. Here’s a few ways to be actively engaged in your community:

Countable summarizes bills that are going through congress and gives you the option to act and message your representative on issues that are most important to you.

Resistbot is a website that finds out who represents you in Congress, and delivers a message to them in under 2 minutes. No downloads or apps required. This is a great resource as it can be difficult to find out how to contact your representatives.

Each legislative session, there are hundreds of bills. It can be dizzying and confusing to say the least. Not sure what to focus on? You might consider looking at your favorite non-profit organization’s website. Non-profit organizations, whether working for environmental, humane treatment of animals, human services, or other causes, are some of our nation’s top advocates in changing our world for the better. Families First’s Public Policy Agenda focuses on issues that directly affect people in our community. The organization’s policy work is non-partisan and non-ideological - determining involvement and/or engagement in public policy issues based on the following underlying principles:

• Strong families are the greatest asset for healthy communities.

• Nonprofit community-based organizations play a critical role in building healthy communities by promoting strong families.

• Populations facing the greatest need and greatest disparities should be prioritized.

It can be difficult to find unbiased and non-partisan information on legislature and local issues. Here are a few websites that offer unbiased information:

Indiana Daily Student reports on any Indiana bills in the state house with an unbiased opinion. It clearly states what the bill is and whether it has been passed or not.

Indy Politics is a website that allows you to subscribe and receive emails about significant political news and events impacting Indianapolis, as well as the entire state of Indiana.

Finally, it goes without saying that you should always fact check sources before believing or sharing what you read. IU East has an excellent page to help you determine whether an article is real, fake, or satire.

Some simple rules to follow are:

1. check for cited sources

2. look for any bias within the website

3. look to see if there are any ads that may hint at sponsorship

So now there’s no excuse. It’s time to find your voice. It’s time to stand for your beliefs, values and missions. Join us.