There's a new way to find out exactly where your elected state lawmakers stand on issues that matter to you, and it's just a few clicks away. For the first time, you can go online to see how your lawmakers are voting at the state capitol.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy unveiled a new section on its website. President Forest Thigpen says, "We think they ought to know how their legislators vote. And we think they ought to let their legislators know if they're doing a good job."
Senator Walter Michel supports the move. He says he gets emails constantly wanting to know how he voted. And he recently received one criticizing a vote he didn't even cast. Sen. Michel says it "was improperly chiding me for voting the wrong way on a bill, and i had to email the constituent back and let him know how I voted."
It's a time consuming process. Votes for nearly all bills are posted on the site daily, giving Mississippians up to date web access inside the capitol.
Thigpen says, "with 2 clicks they can be looking for votes. They can do a word search on that page and find a topic when they don't know the bill number." The site is designed to be user friendly.
While many state legislatures already post votes on their websites, some wonder why it took a private organization to do it here in Mississippi. Thigpen says, "I'm not going to question why they haven't. Whether it's been an oversight, which is what they've said. Or whether they just don't want people to know."
Sen. Michel says, "It's fine with me that the private sector's doing it. I think the private sector can do it just as well as the state can."
The Center for Public Policy is providing that service now, with hopes the state will eventually take over the task.