FishandDemocracy.com Launch Aims To Keep Lawmakers Accountable
Alaska Conservation Voters Site Provides Transparency on Legislative Actions That Impact Fish, Public Participation in Government
Anchorage, Alaska (April 2, 2013) – With less than two weeks left in the 2013 legislative session, Alaska Conservation Voters launched an interactive online scorecard today that ranks lawmakers on their fish and democracy credentials. The website – www.fishanddemocracy.com – tracks legislation, and displays lawmaker votes on bills that impact Alaska’s fish and how Alaskans interact with their government.
“I’m sick of moderate lawmakers supporting extreme initiatives that impact our fish, and limit public participation in our government,” said Andy Moderow, Executive Director of Alaska Conservation Voters. "This project was designed to show those votes to the people of Alaska."
The project was inspired in part by the rollback of Alaska’s stringent cruise ship discharge standards. In February, lawmakers threw away the standards set by the people of Alaska in a 2006 citizens’ initiative. Five amendments were offered to protect fish and publicize information about cruise ship discharge quality and locations, but these amendments were voted down. A summary of actions pertaining to cruise ship discharge standards taken by the legislature is currently live on FishandDemocracy.com.
A straightforward, easy-to-use engagement tool, the website allows voters to keep track of themed legislative actions, see detailed profiles of lawmakers’ individual voting records, and take action by communicating directly with representatives. In addition, visitors to FishandDemocracy.com can sign up to receive action alerts from Alaska Conservation Voters as news breaks.
“Fish and democracy are themes that tie our state together. Legislation on these issues has moved quickly this session, making it hard to follow what has exactly happened down in Juneau,” says Moderow.
Many important bills remain on the move during the final two weeks of session. One such bill – Parnell’s Permitting Initiative - would relax industrial permitting standards, often at the expense of public participation.
“The people of Alaska should watch their legislature closely during these final weeks,” says Moderow. “We are confident that this website will be a useful and timely engagement resource for the public during this fast-paced, end-of-session season.”
The website will be updated daily through the end of session, as proposals move through the legislative process, however the site will remain active even after lawmakers leave Juneau. The project and the team of researchers behind it will be active for future sessions as well.
FishandDemocracy.com is a project of Alaska Conservation Voters, aimed to get more Alaskans involved with state policy decisions.
Alaska Conservation Voters is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for sound conservation policies. The organization also supports pro-conservation candidates for office.