Study: Most legislative Web sites are not too useful

Study: Most legislative Web sites are not too useful

Most state legislative Web sites don't give their users enough information or tools to understand and influence lawmaking, a recent independent study concluded.

OMB Watch, a nonprofit organization in Washington, assessed all 50 states' legislative sites as well as sites in federal territories.

The study, Plugged In, Tuning Up: An Assessment of State Legislative Web Sites, found that only 12 percent of the sites provide links to contact lawmakers directly. More than half the sites provide no information on legislative calendars, committee schedules or floor schedules, OMB Watch found.

Fifty-one percent of the sites use cookies to track visitors, but only 4 percent include statements about their use. And no state site provided 'clearly identifiable compliance with commonly accepted design principles for accessibility to those with disabilities,' OMB Watch said.

Most states provide information about the legislatures' majority and minority leadership, but few sites describe oversight, ethics or legislative research bodies, according to the report. 'Though 75 percent of legislatures have some method of collecting information or allowing users to interact with the legislative body, nearly all states lack a clearly defined privacy policy on their site,' OMB Watch said.

The report is posted on the Web at .

'Wilson P. Dizard III

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