Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Media Relations Manager
MIDLAND — MichiganVotes.org recently described its 25,000th bill, a process that began in 2001 to track every vote in the Michigan Legislature.
“MichiganVotes was established for two main reasons,” said Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst and MVO editor. “To provide plain-English descriptions of bills and votes, and to do it for every bill, not just select ones chosen by some politician or newspaper editor or special interest group.”
As of the close of the 2011-2012 legislative session, MichiganVotes had provided concise, objective descriptions of 20,800 roll call votes, 17,240 amendments, 64,106 votes missed by legislators and 4,958 new laws.
“Most of the bills that get introduced are dead on arrival,” McHugh said. “But they were introduced for a reason, so the bill still tells you a lot about the legislator who introduced it.”
MVO is searchable and sortable by legislator, category, keyword and more. The year-end tally of missed votes has become popular with the media, who use it to report on their local legislators. McHugh said the number of missed votes has fallen from more than 21,000 in 2001 to about 2,200 in 2012.
“When we started MichiganVotes, we envisioned giving citizen activists information to help them have more influence in the legislative process,” McHugh said. “We realized what it really provides is accountability.”
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. The largest state-based free-market think tank in the country celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
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