Legithon: A Hactivist Approach to Public Policy
This project explores effective ways to increase citizen engagement in governance. Legithon, a hacktivist approach to creating public policy, builds on the Gruter Institute’s Innovation and Growth Project. Gathering citizens from all walks of life, a Legithon provides an intense, facilitated opportunity for teams to draft policy working with experts, legislators, and coaches over the course of a single weekend. Winning entries are selected by a team of judges who evaluate the final products based on a variety of factors, including feasibility, economic impact, quality of legislative drafting, and a variety of other factors. While not all final projects will be introduced to the government as potential law, participants benefit greatly by learning the legislative drafting process, interacting with experts across multiple fields, and experiencing the nuance and complexity of the legislative process. Similarly, participating lawmakers and professionals benefit by working with engaged, interested public citizens, and discovering innovative, disruptive, and out-of-the-box solutions to policy problems.
The first Legithon, hosted by the Vermont General Assembly, focused on developing legislation to enhance economic development in Vermont. In just over two days, teams produced legislative proposals ranging from streamlining downtown development by removing land use restrictions in designated areas to providing preferential treatments for veteran entrepreneurs, to designating tax holidays to promote regional artisans. Additional Legithons are being planned in selected cities across the U.S. in 2016.
Pre-event press release: https://gruterinstitute.org/?s=legithon