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(copied from the ONLINE TODAY magazine)

  Although Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock would have been

puzzled by the thought, the California Assembly is looking at ways technology can enhance the democratic process.

  To this end, a legislative database called California Capitol

Connection has recently gone online to offer legislators and con- stituents a close-up view of the legislative process. Included in the database are the texts of bills, committee schedules and even electronic access to certain California legislators.

   Eventually, the system will accommodate real-time conferencing

so issues can be debated electronically. "We hope this will result in fewer hearings that are held before the issues are really thought out," said Bob Jacobson, a consultant with the California Assembly's Utilities and Commerce Committee.

   For more information, contact jacobson through CompuServe's

EasyPlex at 75026,1650 or write the Utilities and Commerce Committee, State Capitol, Room 2117, Sacramento, CA 95814; 916-445-4246. The phone number for the Capitol Connection is 916-442-0746.

After I read the above, I decided to try it.

For those BBS users who are interested, the Capitol Connection really is there! I tried it 6/5/87, and found the transmission parameters you should use for access.

If you do not yet have a validated account for this system, you must register when you sign in for the first time. They will mail you a form showing full access information, after they validate you. So, you must use your real name! And you must declare your party affiliation, or declare yourself a CITIZEN (like I did!).

I was not able to determine the type of BBS they use, but it seems efficient. With four lines, it shouldn't be too hard to get on to.

The following was captured directly from the board:


Telephone: (916) 442-0746, four lines, 24 hours a day, 300 and 1200 baud. Parameters that work best: 7 data bits, even parity, 1 stop bit.

A friend who has been on the system had this to say:

The board is well worth the (somewhat stupid) efforts they make you go through to sign on. Further stupidity: when you send in your registration card they ask you to write out your password. right, all those passwords floating around in the mail. Yes, you can simply change it once you go online the first time, but a lot of people wont'. for a system run by some intelligent folks, that was quite a blunder (and Ive let them know that, by the way)>

The board is run under the Caucus system.

All it costs is some time and a long-distance phone call; the board does not charge a fee for it's useage.

It might be of interest to know that Willie Brown was lobbying for the funding to set up the board, and that this is the summation of some 2.5 years worth of time and effort. but it's finally there.

Also, it is going to be a "showcase" system; if this one does well, there will be others, many others.

I think the democratic process could really use the input of people who are believers in the true shareware type of system. Why don't you give the board a try. And pass this on to others who might be interested in our legislative process. Who knows, someday, someone up there might hear us!

Jim Robeson, Pacific Grove, CA ……………. … …-….1200 N81N ……………………. … …-….1200 N81N ……..

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