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New app helps open government

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New app helps open government | Tennessee, General Assembly, Politics, Public Notice, Sunshine Law, Technology, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, Bass Berry and Sims

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NASHVILLE – A mobile app featuring contact information for the 108th Tennessee General Assembly is now available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

The General Assembly app is designed to help Tennessee residents connect with their legislators and contains searchable contact, staff and committee information for all state representatives and senators.

“The app is ideal for anyone who wants to monitor the activities at the state capitol and is designed to be the best reference possible for those who are interested in or work with Tennessee legislators,” said Dick Lodge, a lobbyist with Bass Berry & Sims.

The Tennessee General Assembly app features a continually updated database of all Senate and House members contact, staff and committee information, fast and easy search functions, as well as a one-click call or e-mail ability for users.

The app was developed by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and Bass Berry & Sims PLC.

“We began producing the print directory of the General Assembly more than 30 years ago to be a reference for Tennessee residents and to educate legislators about electric co-ops, ” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Our app continues that tradition — providing a useful tool while educating users about our co-ops.”

The $4.99 app can be found by searching for the General Assembly in the Apple App Store or Google PLAY Marketplace.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical.

Visit www.tnelectric.org or www.tnmagazine.org to learn more.

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Bass Berry and Sims, General Assembly, Politics, Public Notice, Sunshine Law, Technology, Tennessee, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association
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Members Opinions:
January 25, 2013 at 12:00pm
Generally speaking, I think that making information about government more readily available to constituents is a good thing. While I’m not sure how this app is better than or different from a comparable Web site, more means of connecting and communicating should be beneficial. However, I am a little concerned about the fact that not every citizen in the state has a smart phone or tablet. Why not simply make this information available in a similarly convenient format on the Web? The price is also an issue for similar reasons; $4.99 may not seem like a lot of money, but information about government shouldn’t cost taxpayers anything. The underlying issue seems to be that rather than a resource provided by the state government itself, this app was created by the Tennessee Electrical Cooperative Association and a lobbying firm. Shouldn’t the government have done this itself in the interest of better hearing and serving its constituents? Whenever a third party gets involved, particularly when that third party includes lobbyists, I worry about ulterior motives and conflicts of interest. Is the main use of this app to facilitate communication between representatives and their constituents, or to advance the interests of the Tennessee Electrical Cooperative Association and their lobbyists? Overall, I think that while the app is a good idea in general, some of the details about it are less than perfect.
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