Wikis and Legislation

No, not legislation of wikis — legislation by wiki. An article in Monday’s OpinionJournal, “Somewhere Milton is Smiling,” highlights what appears to be the first use by a state legislature of a wiki to build consensus around a proposed law. In this particular case, the bill was for universal coverage for school vouchers.
Utah state Representative Steve Urquhart, the bill’s chief sponsor, thought that the argument in favor of his bill was strong. And, to quote the OpinionJournal article, he

… started an interactive Web site modeled after the interactive encyclopedia Wikipedia. He posted his bill on it and invited comments. Thousands of people logged on to and participated. “If anyone can show evidence (not just alarmist rhetoric) that public education does not come out financially ahead with this bill, post your arguments and data in the comment section,” Mr. Urquhart challenged his readers. No one was able to effectively rebut him.

Might libraries take this as an example of a way to build consensus — and more importantly, support — for change within the communities they serve? Proposing well thought-out policies in a public forum that allows for thoughtful comment can build consensus before the item is up for an actual vote by a town board or the taxpayers.

[Via GinnBlog.]