I am attempting to create an online Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) web site/forum. The site/forum aims to assess the costs and benefits of state and local level legislation through crowd sourcing. The goal of the project is to better educate prospective voters on the costs and benefits of upcoming legislation. The initial phase of the project aims to provide voters with a basic, yet easily digestible set of numeric values to quantify the costs and benefits of upcoming legislation.
Through crowd sourcing, the hope is that these valuations can occur in a transparent and open manner. If these valuations are erroneous or misleading, members of the community can debate and correct any invalid valuations. Another hope is that through crowd sourcing, these valuations can occur more quickly than traditional RIA’s. This is important, as RIA’s can sometimes take months if not years to complete and are generally only performed on large/far-reaching pieces of legislation.
Should membership be open to everyone and anyone?
My thoughts on 'yes': With a greater number of members, the knowledge base and speed at which RIA’s can be completed would increase.
My thoughts on 'no': Influence from external parties/non-voters could skew the RIA, resulting in RIA which is beneficial to non-voters. For example, let us say California was voting on legislation to ban meat from slaughterhouses that don't meet standards none of the major slaughterhouses in California meet. Instead, slaughterhouses in another state (e.g., Texas) or another country (e.g., Uruguay) meet the new criteria. People from Texas, Uruguay, etc., could skew the RIA in favor of the legislation. This would ultimately be to the benefit of Texas, Uruguay, etc., both of which do not consist of California voters.