This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, February 22, 1995

February 22, 1995 - legislative database through PPLD

[No matter what you do for a living, sooner or later you run across something being considered by the State Legislature that you wish you could track more closely.

Until now, it hasn't been easy. To the outsider, the number of bills, amendments, committees, and related processes can be alternately bewildering and exasperating.

But for the past year, the Colorado library community has provided a way to cut through all the smoke, letting the average citizen keep a closer eye on what goes on at the Legislature.

This week I'm dedicating my column to a press release from the Colorado State Library, with some minor tailoring to make it apply to Douglas Public Library District patrons. Save this one, folks: even if you don't need it now, a time will come when you will.]

The 1995 Colorado legislative session is now available for monitoring by the public using home computers and the Colorado Legislative Database. The database contains up-to-date information about the Colorado General Assembly, and is provided as a joint project of the Pikes Peak Library District and the Colorado State Library, with information updated by Colorado Capitol Connection, a private legislative monitoring service based in Denver.

This marks the one year anniversary in Colorado that legislative information is easily and widely available to the public at no cost. Since the project was launched last January, the database has been accessed 18,840 times. People in Douglas County can reach the Colorado Legislative Database using a personal computer or from any public terminal at any Douglas County library.

Nancy Bolt, Colorado State Librarian, said, "Libraries are committed to providing Colorado citizens with information about how state government operates. This is just the first of many state government information resources to be made available to the people of Colorado through libraries. We think of libraries as THE information link between people in local communities and information from and about the state.

According to Pikes Peak Library District Director Bernard A. Margolis, "This continues the library's commitment to bring information to people where and when they need it. Accurate, up- to-date legislative information is vital, not only to those who create public policy, but to every citizen in a democracy."

The Colorado Legislative Database provides:

* Information on the Colorado General Assembly Legislative Process -- how the General Assembly works, what happens in joint sessions on the House and Senate, how bills are structured, and what other matters are considered by the General Assembly;

* Status of Bills before the Colorado General Assembly -- indicates where any particular bill is in the system, including its committee assignment, and whether it has been amended;

* Legislative Calendar -- consists of the most recently available Senate and House calendars, published on a daily basis during the legislative session;

* Full Text of Bills before the Colorado General Assembly -- contains text and amendments for all bills before the Colorado General Assembly; and

* Senate and House Journals -- a complete record of what transpired in the General Assembly on the day before, including attendance, voting records, and amendment language.

To access the Colorado Legislative Database with a personal computer, set the communications software to: full duplex, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity, and 300-9600 bits per second (the "baud rate"). Call one of two local numbers for the Access Colorado Library and Information Network (440-9969, or 786-8700) and answer the first two prompts with "ac" (in lower case letters, but without the quotes). Then follow the instructions on the screen to connect to the Pikes Peak Library District. Look for the menu choice, "Menu of Government Databases, including City Hall On-Line and Colorado Legislative Database."

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