At the end of June 2014, the Lucy Burns Institute, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to fairness and openness in politics headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, launched Policypedia. Under the auspices of Ballotpedia, the popular wiki-source for state and local election information with the goal of eventually covering over 507,000 elected officials across the country, Policypedia will be a series of encyclopedia entries consisting of hundreds of articles to inform voters on major policy issues at the national, state and local level. Karen Danford, Policypedia Director, reaffirms their interest in making government transparent and accessible to the public. “Policy decisions made in government affect citizens in many ways, especially economically, legally and socially. We aim to enlighten voters by focusing on the tradeoffs involved so that they can participate in the public discussion of policy issues, and vote for candidates and initiatives aligned with their beliefs and interests.”
One of Policypedia’s four main policy areas will be public pensions and will have articles describing the status of public pensions in each of the 50 states. Readers can find detailed information such as pension funding history, proposed reforms, rate of return and unfunded liabilities. These pages will provide non-experts and regular voters with a road map into what the pension situation is along with some comparative figures.
Geoff Pallay, Director of Strategic Projects at the Lucy Burns Institute comments, “Policy is a complicated subject. White papers and long studies are a necessary aspect of the policy discussion, but the vast majority of voters want things in plain English in an easy-to-digest format. Our wikis are a proven mechanism for delivering high-quality information to a large audience of voters.” With all the projects that the Lucy Burns Institute is taking on to bring transparency and accessibility to government and politicians, they look forward to collaborating on bringing comprehensive, detailed research to their audience.
To learn more about their organization, visit the website for the Lucy Burns Institute. [http://www.lucyburns.org/about/our-story/]