FPPC tests new technology to enhance public participation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            

September 16, 2019


For More Information Contact:

Jay Wierenga (916) 322-7761

.pdf version of news release

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), California’s governmental ethics and campaign disclosure agency, will be one of the first state entities to provide an interactive experience for the public to take part in Commission meetings in ‘real time’. At its next Commission meeting on Thursday, September 19th, the public will be able to make comments or ask questions remotely from anywhere in the State, without having to attend meetings in person in Sacramento.

“Technology allows people to connect with each other around the world, so it’s past time we find a way to connect the Commission with people all over California,” said FPPC Chair Richard C. Miadich. “We want Californians to be able to connect with their government so we can better serve the public by communicating in real time, all to improve transparency and participation.”

Earlier this year the Commission asked staff to find ways to allow for remote public participation, as well as looking at the cost of doing so. This month, the agency’s information technology staff is testing an inexpensive way to do just that. The FPPC will be piloting a website at the September 19th Commission meeting that allows users to watch the meeting while being able to submit comments and questions live to certain agenda items. These comments and questions are received in real time, and Commissioners will be able to respond at each appropriate time on the agenda item.

“The public deserves to know their officials are following the rules, and as the body entrusted to make sure they do we welcome the voice of the public to help us do just that,” said Miadich. “Together we can make sure California politics is open, transparent, and fair. I applaud our IT Staff for their creativity.”

This site is at no extra cost to the public or to the FPPC, as it is using already available hardware and software. Besides the goal of increased public engagement, the pilot program will also help determine the easiest way for individuals to submit their questions and comments.  Members of the public are encouraged to tune in and participate. 

The Agenda can be found here: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/about-fppc/hearings-meetings-workshops/current-agenda.html. Near the top of the agenda is a link to the ‘public participation portal’: http://mediasite.fppc.ca.gov/. Click on that to view the Commission meeting and offer comments or questions.