New Florida House smart phone app coming soonby Dara Kam | February 28th, 2013
House Speaker Will Weatherford gave reporters a sneak peek at a new House app that he said he hopes will “set a national standard” for citizens to interact with their government.
“I did not wear my black turtleneck to roll this out,” Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, joked, referring to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ signature attire.
The mobile app, available for iPhones and iPads as well as android devices, was developed by Orlando-based Echo. Twelve companies bid on the project, which was supposed to cost about $130,000 but has run a bit over, Weatherford said.
“This is the way that people are communicating. It’s the way they want to learn. It’s the way they access information,” Weatherford, 33, said. “As a young Speaker and a person who uses apps every day, all the time, this is a way that people are accessing information today. It’s just another example of government entering the 21st century. We’re happy to be on the front edge of that.”
The app will be available to users on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 legislative session, and will allow users to live stream House committee meetings and floor sessions as well as view archived meetings and track bills.
But the app doesn’t include any information about the Florida Senate. Weatherford said he didn’t ask the “upper chamber” whether they wanted to participate in the project. That means that tech-hungry Senate snoops will have to continue to use their computers to follow what’s going on.