Access Missouri launches
Access Missouri is a collaboration between KBIA, The Missouri Informatics Institute and The Truman School of Public Affairs here at MU. The site is a portal designed to collect publicly available data on Lawmakers. So far there have been more than 5,000 unique users, on the site that launched less than a week ago. Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.
Access Missouri includes an easily accessible record of lawmakers' votes, committees they serve on, bills they've sponsored, and other pertinent information about the area they represent. The site also features financial records for the campaign committees of legislators and candidates, including a financial timeline that tracks contributions and spending.
This is all information accessible to the public... if you know where to look. Currently, there is no other source that consolidates these records into one place.
Professor Earnest Perry said this site is the first of it's kind because both state and federal government don't make it easy for voters.
"It seems as if the government is not as transparent with this information. It's in so many formats and it's in so many places, how do you get it all into one area? And it seems like every time that someone puts together an initiative to try to do that and they put that initiative into legislation, it never seems to get anywhere."
Several Missouri media outlets have linked to the site during their coverage of this week's election. Professor Mike McKean said he hopes that news organizations continue to use the site as a source.
"To be able to track the candidates, the legislators, to be able to know what they're voting on, when they're there and when they're not there, who's giving them money, that stuff is really important."