A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Use Your Mac to Keep Up With Your Government November 11th, 1998
Have you sometimes wished you knew just what was going on in your state legislature and how it might impact you? Usually we don't find out most of these things until they are a done deal and we read about them in the paper or hear about them on the news. You may conclude that a special interest group or a powerful lobby has gotten involved and created one-sided deals, or you may wonder why in the world a legislature would address insignificant things.
My favorite from our last state legislative session was a bill that named the cast iron Dutch oven the "state pot" Go figure.
Your Mac and the internet can open the door to allow you access to legislation while it is happening; tell you who to contact to express your opinion; tell you who is voting for what; and even notify you when public hearings are taking place on specific subjects. You can review it all just because you are interested or search out specific topics of special interest to you. Most of the states have web pages that allow you to tap into legislative activity. And, there is one site that you can visit to find them all.
Go to www.globalcomputing.com/states.html. You will find a map of the United States. Click on any state's image and you will go directly to the home page for that state. From there you can follow the links to get all the information available on your legislature. Following is a brief (down and dirty) summary of what I found to be available. If your legislature is not currently in session there may be items that are not available now that will be available during a session.
Lists Members By Name:
Provides Contact Info
Provides E-mail Address
Provides Members Bios
Gives Committee Assignments
Provides Calendar of Floor Action
Provides Summary of Bills
Provides Hearings Info
Explains How To Testify Before Committees
Provides Key Word Search of Text of Bills
Lists sponsors of bills
Special link to Senior's page
Tells which legislators filed which bills
Explains how bills become law and has advistory committee on senior citizens
Explains how bills become law
Information on legislation planned for near future
Tells how to track a bill
1 By phone only
2 Can only access if you have the bill number
3 Can enter if you know address
4 You must have last name to access
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.