Here is one thing government has gotten right. The state of Tennessee’s online presence has been named the best state website in the country in the “Best of the Web” competition sponsored by the Center for Digital Government. In our digital age, government websites enhance democracy by making it easier to access government services, follow legislative action, communicate with government officials, and make valuable government information readily available to the public.
As a frequent user of the state’s websites for the governor, government services and the Tennessee General Assembly, we can attest to their success, ease of use and timeliness of information.
Tennessee began taking its online presence seriously during the administration of Gov. Phil Bredesen. It took several years of evolution before comprehensive state information and state services were readily available. …
The General Assembly website is of special interest to anyone who wants to follow legislative action, find representatives and state senators, or access links to other government operations and websites. The legislature’s website enables the public to follow legislation on a day-to-day basis, read bills submitted, along with bill summaries, cost estimates, legislative sponsors, voting records and other information.
The state’s website also enables the public to easily stay in touch with local representatives and state senators. Links with personal information, office locations and phone numbers, and easily accessed email contact information are available.
Digital technology and the Internet have brought government closer to the people than almost any other development we can think of. In the past, state government often was viewed as the remote state capital, lawmakers involved in long legislative sessions and meetings, and reports in daily newspapers. The public had relatively little access to what was going on in state government. For anyone with Internet access, including access at public libraries, all of the services and information involving state government is only a few keystrokes and mouse clicks away. Tennessee’s websites are leading the way to enhance democracy and public involvement.
-The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun