Lawmakers Using 'Blogs' to Communicate with Community

Lawmakers Using 'Blogs' to Communicate with Community

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Richard Piatt ReportingIf you have ever heard about a bill in the Legislature and thought: What are they thinking, now there's a way for you to find out. A few lawmakers are using technology to let you know. They've started an internet 'blog' to explain where they're coming from.

For those who don't know, a 'blog' is like a bulletin board. These days several lawmakers are using those electronic postings to explain their positions and votes on key issues. And lots of people are reading them.

Amid the crush of bills on the floor of the House, lawmakers get swamped in the information glut. E-mail is now the most frequent and efficient way Utah citizens communicate with their Legislator. Saint George representative Steve Urquardt still talks on the phone frequently, but recently he decided to use technology to do some of it. That's when he started, where he posts his opinions on things like the No Child left Behind Act.

Rep. Steve Urquhart, (R) Saint George: “No Child Left Behind might be beneficial for states and those districts that don’t have a clue. But for others, it shows that one size doesn’t fit all.”

Urquhart's blog is already popular, and word of mouth is helping. So far he says responses have been very civil.

Rep. Steve Urquhart, (R) Saint George: "They want us to take caution before we mess with them. Sso they say, please take caution before you mess up a good thing because a few people have an axe to grind."

On the blog no issue is off limits. Urquhart now refers people to his web site first, and it usually does the trick.

Rep. Steve Urquhart, (R) Saint George: “I’ll say check out my thinking on the blog. And they’ll say, ‘oh, thank you.’ Or they’ll say, ‘have you considered A, B, and C?’”

The idea is catching on. House Majority Leader Jeff Alexander also has his own website And more legislators will likely follow.

Rep. Jeff Alexander, House Majority Leader: "I think you'll see this in many areas, because no matter what side of an issue you're on, people still want to get their view out there."

As of right now, no democrat lawmaker has a blog, but I'm told that one will be coming soon.

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