Gavin Newsom

In this photo taken Monday, April 20, 2015, Lt. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Californians for Safety and Justice conference in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom and former state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, have teamed up with computer scientists at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a web-based video search engine that they hope will democratize government by using the latest in voice- and face-recognition software to allow people to see, hear and read what their representatives are doing in the state capital. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By Melody Gutierrez
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – Updated 12:23 pm

SACRAMENTO — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new online search tool Wednesday that he said will open up the way the California Legislature does business and radically transform state politics “from a world of promises to a world of participation.”

Newsom, a Democrat, joined former Republican state Sen. Sam Blakeslee and open-government advocates in announcing the launch of Digital Democracy, an online search engine that is now live which allows the public to hone in on specific bills or keywords, such as looking for all references in Legislative hearings to the controversial vaccine bill currently being weighed by lawmakers.

The site also puts several online tools in one place, including campaign contributions, conflict of interest filings and voting records of lawmakers. The site will also open up the world of lobbying in a way not seen before by identifying their comments at legislative hearings, tracking them back to their employers and showing who their clients are.

While much of the information is already available online through a myriad of different websites, Digital Democracy also digitizes transcripts of what was said during hearings, allows a user to tie those comments back to the video clip and to easily share it through social networking.

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