Kansas City to Use a Covid-Friendly Way to Publicly Discuss New Laws

Like many cities, Kansas City, MO, is looking for ways to reclaim a little bit of normalcy and vital activity after the novel coronavirus swept through America causing massive shutdowns and the loss of nearly 100,000 lives.

However, a new normal in which large public gatherings pose a significant health risk to the public presents a unique problem for governments. How do you hold hearings about an important public health issue without endangering the lives of the very residents coming to discuss how their lives have been upended by the pandemic?

A new civic partnership may help solve this problem. LawMaker, Mayor Quinton Lucas, and the government of Kansas City, MO, have partnered to launch a LawMaker Challenge to crowdsource new laws about pandemic response and recovery.

Mayor Quinton Lucas
 On June 1, 2020, Mayor Lucas will use LawMaker to issue a 30-day policymaking challenge to all Kansas City residents. The topic will be to make Kansas City stronger and better prepared to deal with a public health crisis in the future. The challenge will focus on pandemic preparedness policy proposals in four categories: (1) Small Business Support, (2) Economic Resilience, (3) Emergency Preparedness, and (4) Public Health Access.

“We’re pleased to partner with LawMaker to create a transparent and public forum for civic engagement in Kansas City,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “I encourage all Kansas Citians with ideas on issues ranging from COVID recovery to delivery of basic services to building a more equitable community to submit their thoughts. Community ideas big and small have helped build Kansas City and we look forward to crafting Kansas City’s next chapter together. I look forward to reviewing these ideas with my City Council colleagues.”

LawMaker has partnered with elected officials and organizations in the past to issue LawMaker Challenges to crowdsource new policy ideas. The day LawMaker launched in 2017, it partnered with Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu to issue a challenge on government access and transparency that led to the creation of this ordinance based on a proposal written by LawMaker user Jamie Tijerina.

LawMaker works with elected officials and organizations around the country to show Americans that there are leaders who want to hear from them and create laws based on grassroots advocacy and support. The upcoming effort in Kansas City shows that government can create laws that start with the people in order to benefit the people.

Kansas City and Lawmaker are partnering on this pilot to determine if LawMaker will become the city’s new virtual town hall for policymaking. This effort can help cities ensure that their residents stay safe while still encouraging the dynamic civic community that cities need to propel them forward.

The Kansas City LawMaker Challenge will launch publicly at 8am CT on June 1, 2020, and will run till 5pm CT, June 30, 2020. Mayor Lucas commits to take substantive political action on the top policy in each of the four categories. Participants can find the challenge here at 8am CT on June 1, 2020. Users should sign up here in advance to be ready for the start on the Challenge.

THE DETAILS:

Mayor Quinton Lucas’s LawMaker Challenge will run from June 1-June 30, 2020. The Challenge will focus on how new policies can make Kansas City stronger after the coronavirus pandemic.

Singing up for the LawMaker Challenge is easy:
• Visit LawMaker now to sign up. LawMaker will verify your identity by asking for your name and voter registration address and checking the voter rolls. If you are not registered to vote, LawMaker will send you a verification postcard in the mail (postcard will take 3–5 days to arrive after you sign up).
• Mayor Lucas’ policy challenge will be posted here on LawMaker at 8am on June 1, 2020.

On June 1, once the challenge is active, here’s how interested Americans can participate:

Step 1. Propose a policy under one of the 4 categories: Small Business Support, Economic Resilience, Emergency Preparedness, and Public Health Access.

Step 2. Share your policy with your neighbors, friends, and family on social media, asking them to sign up and upvote your policy.

Step 3. Keep sharing and earning upvotes to make sure your policy has the most support in its category by the conclusion of the Challenge, June 30, 5pm CT. Mayor Lucas commits to take substantive political action on the top proposal in each category.

Amit Thakkar

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