I’m No Political Pundit, but I’m a Fan of IndianaNet

Politics isn’t my forte. Challenge me to a debate and you’ll witness an Olympic-worthy sprint from the room (but if we were debating, say, the top bands of the 1960s, I would roll up my sleeves and let the faceoff begin!) Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the legislative process. In fact, I often use the Indiana Chamber’s online service – IndianaNet – to find valuable legislative information.

No matter your level of political savvy, IndianaNet offers something for everyone. Consider it your year-round connection into the Statehouse. From the comfort of your desk, laptop or BlackBerry, you can access regulatory information, track bills, view committee schedules and floor calendars, and create custom reports. In addition, the service contains contact information for all legislators, archived legislative sessions (starting with 1998) and more. 

Simply logging onto IndianaNet is a huge time saver – and, arguably, a lifesaver. OK, I might be exaggerating slightly, but believe me, as the winter months (and the legislative session) approach, I’ve been thinking about that four-letter word – snow. Thanks to IndianaNet, I don’t have to exhibit my acrobatic skills by doing somersaults during a trip on foot (no pun intended!) walking from the Chamber offices across the street to the Statehouse. 

Three final reasons to subscribe to IndianaNet: it will keep you informed of key legislative developments; it’s a small investment (just $199 and there is no special software to install); and it offers convenience (and isn’t time money?) 

Subscribe online or contact Jonathan Wales at (317) 264-6854.

Indiana Government Lagging in Digital Transparency

A recent Indianapolis Star article takes Indiana government to task for not providing online access to important public information. The story is based on a survey by journalism organizations that shows Indiana near the bottom of all 50 states when it comes to providing this information in digital form:

The days when tracking down pertinent public information required sifting through volumes of paper records have long passed. Or at least they should have here and elsewhere based on the technology now available.

We’re unaware of the state’s plans to increase information, but realize it will likely take years before state government provides the access businesses need. After all, we have had the same system of township government since the mid-1800s.

The Chamber’s own government information portal, IndianaNet, was not around during the Gettysburg Address, but has been supplying comprehensive online access to government information for many years.

IndianaNet provides regulatory information, agency information, meeting schedules and follows state legislative activity in real time. In addition to being a one-stop shop for complete government information, IndianaNet provides unique reporting capabilities and other powerful tools to ensure businesses are never blindsided by any state government or legislative action.

Click on the link to learn more about IndianaNet .

There Is An “I” in “Internet”: Technology Brings People Closer to Government

As one who entered the digital age with a Commodore 64 (pictured, for those born after the Reagan administration), I have seen “the Google” and “the Yahoo” shrink our world. And now "the Internet" accesses remote parts of the globe. Looking out my backdoor (sorry, Mr. Fogerty) I visit the Great Wall of China, Piccadilly Circus, outer space, even elephants in a band. The Indiana General Assembly meets in Indianapolis during the winter. Most of their work is done during the day. It is impractical for most citizens to attend committee meetings or general sessions. The Web changes this. Participatory democracy, for the first time in history, is set-up to allow full participation. Web cameras hang in the House and Senate chambers, five committee hearing rooms and portions of the court system. The Internet has literalized the saying, "at your finger tips."

I view any bills being introduced in the General Assembly. I easily find my representative and senator’s contact information. I send emails expressing my views. I watch elected officials discuss and vote on issues affecting my daily life. I watched the Governor’s State of the State without any overlapping commentary. I read blogs and Twitter comments from a diversity of view points. I draw my own conclusions.

The key word in that paragraph was "I."  No longer "they." Overseeing IndianaNet® allows me to witness how digitizing democracy increases our ability to shape and own the future. The old beige desktop has given way to pocket-sized back doors.

IndianaNet Focused on Customer Feedback, Upcoming Legislative Activity

IndianaNet, the Chamber’s one-stop-shop for legislative information in Indiana, recently finished compiling data from a customer survey. More than 91% of survey respondents rated their overall experience with the bill-tracking service as “very good” or “excellent.” I am pleased with this and other positive findings of the survey but there is always room for improvement. The survey generated both qualitative and quantitative responses that will help us evaluate and improve the system to best meet subscribers’ needs.

IndianaNet will be closely following the State Legislature’s Interim Study Committees occurring throughout the summer months. Much of the legislation and policy discussions debated during the next legislative session will be formulated during these meetings. All related materials, including meeting minutes, will be available on the IndianaNet web site as committees meet.

Political information, including contribution data and fundraising calendars, is also available. IndianaNet users will notice an increase in the frequency of political information updates as more information is available during the upcoming election season.

Learn more about the IndianaNet system here.