TechCrunch launches Crunchgov to craft and pass better tech laws

Greg from TechCrunch sez,

TechCrunch has launched a beta version of a new technology policy platform, Crunchgov. Crunchgov (beta) is designed to source the most thoughtful people and ideas for the purpose of crafting smarter tech policy. The tech industry is great at getting headlines for things like SOPA but haven't been successful at passing laws--this leaves them vulnerable to the status quo on education, immigration, IP and a hot of other issues.

So, we designed two tools, which are both first for a media organization as far as I know. One is a a report card - each House of Representatives member (and soon Senators) are rated on how their voting record aligns to the consensus interests of the technology industry. To gage what consensus issues are, we surveyed the top tech lobbies, which collectively represent most of industry. Where they all agreed on a bill, we put it into our report.

We ended up with 3 bills: The Fairness in High Skilled Immigrants Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), The JOBS Act (crowdfunding for startups).

We also identified 10 congressmen, who were given As or Fs, based on whether they were well-known champions or threats. This will help citizens keep track of the most thoughtful people, and be warned when known threats try to co-opt important issues, such as when SOPA author Lamar Smith introduced a partisan immigration law destined to fail.

Second, integrated a crowdsourced legislative platform, Project Madison, into our site, which was first designed by Darrell Issa's office. Project Madison allows users to edit draft laws, line-by-line, and vote on each suggestion. It's already been successful at introducing legally specific ideas in the past, and we're confident our nerdy readers can contribute thoughtful ideas. We're also speaking with Google, Facebook and other big tech firms about how they can use Project Madison to make public statements on laws while also being productive. We'd like to end back-door negotiations in favor of something more collaborative and transparent.

We're a media company, which represents the citizens of the tech industry. We're trying to find new ways in which the media can leverage information for government 2.0. This is our experiment and we'd love feedback.