The Florida House is already winning praise for a new mobile app due to be released sometime next week.
House speaker Will Weatherford announced Thursday that the app will allow users to read bills, contact state lawmakers or watch committee meetings -- all on smart phones and tablets -- instruments they can hold in their hands.
The House-only app will have about 80 different features to keep House business not only transparent and convenient, but live.
In a statement issued after Weatherford's announcement, Barbara Petersen, president of open-government advocate The First Amendment Foundation, said, By utilizing the latest mobile app technology, this app empowers Floridians and helps bring them closer to their House members than ever before."
"FL House" will be available the first week of the 2013 legislative session, according to the speaker's office.
The Florida House of Representatives is proud to provide Floridians with new and exciting ways to access information about our chamber by launching the FL House app for iOS and Android devices," Weatherford said.
Senate action via app will not be available for a while yet.
-- Contact members of the House by accessing his or her email address, phone number and office location under the Members tab
-- Browse House committees to find bills
-- View House calendars, including the Chamber Calendar, Committee Calendar and Events Calendar and plan to attend House of Representative public events when visiting the Florida Capitol
-- Watch the Florida House live by accessing streaming live video (only available during interim committee weeks and the regular legislative session)
-- View member picture galleries, updated throughout the regular legislative session
-- Look up bills and track them by subscribing to push notifications on all bill actions
-- Access House publications including the House telephone directory, Clerks manual, leadership directory, administrative directory and committee directory
-- Read the House rules
-- Access Florida lobbyist registration
-- Read the Florida House Guide to Government.
The app is home grown, created at a cost of $130,000 by Echo, an Orlando-based mobile app development company.Echo was chosen from a field of 12 companies that applied for the job.
Get more information or receive updates on "FL House" by visiting MyFloridaHouse.gov.