Get Informed

If you want to keep tabs on local and State government from the comfort of your couch, I recommend these websites for a good, quick start:

Need the basics?  Start here!
Look for the PDF booklet to download: "A Student Guide to the Legislature."  It's beginner's info about how the legislature works, designed for teens but useful for adults, too.  We're all learning, right?

Check on your elected officials.
Track elected officials' bills, votes, and schedules!

Access Washington has links to all levels of government and contact information.

Here are the ones I'll be following:

If you don't live in the 42nd District, you can find your elected officials' websites here.

Whatcom County Council
Whatcom County government makes decisions impacting every citizen within its borders.  The site provides contact information, meeting notices, agendas, and a general list of action taken at past meetings.

Your local cities probably have websites, as well. Google them!

Places to get quick information:
This organization does a great job of following the issues and educating the public.  Check out their many resources. (It was formerly known as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.) 

This one is new to me but looks promising.  Today's lead post seems to give an unbiased delivery of facts.  Each State has its own blog page, and national issues get attention as well.  Its stated mission:  "Each week we scan political news stories, state legislation, political blogs and forums to gain insight on the most pertinent issues. The Citizen's Report is meant to encourage debate amongst community activists, politicians, lobbyists and readers in order to further the discussion.."

I haven't explored this one yet I expect good things.  It looks like you can find answers or links to answers about a variety of topics, government functions, and
The official Washington State site.  Pretty easy to navigate. 

The Legislature's own website can help you.  It has search engines where you can look for topics and bill numbers, schedules, committee agendas., etc.

Washington Votes is a non-profit organization. I signed up (free) and get notifications about topics I'm interested in following.  The site aims to help track legislators' votes, bills, and topics under consideration.  You can comment or read others' comments.  I've found it to be extremely useful.

Here are some ways to get you started, using Washington Votes :

  • Read the comments box on the right side of the page; anything catch your eye?
  • Scroll through the "most viewed bills" section. Not every bill is going to go anywhere; but if a bill generates a lot of interest or comment, that could signal it's going to get some traction. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on whether it's a good or bad idea.
  • Use the "look up bills" feature (using your topic or the number assigned to the bill) to see what pops up.
  • Sign up for free email notifications about anything having to do with your topic.  New things are added all the time, so you need help staying informed.