Legislative Services Improving Integration for Access to Bills, Meetings

Citizens can access with greater ease, instruction

In an effort to educate the public, the Jacksonville City Council Legislative Services Division held its first public-facing PegTalk on Thursday, April 20 to show ways to access its updated Legislative Gateway platform at jaxcityc.legistar.com. The goal was to teach users how to access Jacksonville City Council meetings in progress, current or past legislation, find a bill that a council member introduced or get a copy of the vote for a certain bill.

Chief of Legislative Services Merriane Lahmeur said the idea was for this platform to be a “one-stop shop for all your legislative processing needs.” New features and tabs have been added to allow more transparency in a clear, efficient and effective way, she added.

They have also included linked archived materials — items prior to July of 2019 — and the city’s online code and charter.

Jacksonville City Council Director/Council Secretary Margaret M. “Peggy” Sidman said this is the first step to getting the message about the upgraded system out to the public. The hope is to continue to do outreach and help residents learn to navigate the system on their own.

“We’ve also really tried to make this as interactive as possible,” Sidman said.

For those looking to access agendas for upcoming city council meetings, a raw version will appear on Legislative Gateway under the “Agenda” tab, which was previously called “Calendars” on Thursday afternoon, with the marked agenda posted Friday by 1 p.m. before the council meeting on Tuesday.

One of the biggest changes to the platform is the added addendum and proposed amends and subs tabs. If there are any amendments or addendums, those will be posted by noon on the Tuesday of the city council meeting.

For committee meetings, those items are posted by 1 p.m. the Friday before committee meetings.

Under the “Welcome” page, users can find a place for announcements or to see if anything has been delayed or rescheduled.

One of the key functions of the Legislative Gateway is the legislative bill search. Under the “Legislation” tab, users can find legislative bills and corresponding exhibits back to July 2019. Under each bill, an effective date and final action date, which is when the council acted, were added. Final documents have also been added under this section. Videos have been added as well and are timestamped to jump to the exact moment when the item is being discussed.

“The system is really meant to be integrated,” Lahmeur said.

Sidman hoped there will be an opportunity for additional training material and education opportunities that will be publicly shared. This particular PegTalk on Legislative Gateway will be recorded and posted on the city council webpage.

By Jennifer Jensen
Resident Community News

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