Turq.io gives voice to citizens by helping them craft signature-ready legislation
In 2018, Tim Wallis ran for State Senator in North Carolina. His experience on the campaign trail awakened him to the limits of our current system of lawmaking. In particular, Wallis remembers seeing one man at nearly every single campaign event, pleading with each candidate to do something about the problem of stray animals in his community. Wallis couldn’t help but admire this man’s passion, while also empathizing with his frustration as he tried to get someone in power to listen to hear him out and act by creating and pushing the necessary legislation.
Wallis didn’t win the election. But even after he moved to Somerville, he still worked to solve that constituent’s problem—not the matter of stray animals, but rather the larger difficulty the man and nearly everyone faces in getting their pet issues written into a piece of ready-made legislation.
Turq.io, a new platform started by Wallis and IT consultant Michael Conlon, connects constituents to the people who will help solve their issue and turn that solution into legislation. The traditional channels to your state representatives and senators don’t work as well as they used to. Phone calls, emails, and even petitions go nowhere because they are written the wrong way, delivered to the wrong person, or are just lost in the din of an overwhelmed lawmaker’s office. So instead, Turq.io facilitates the creation of a piece of readymade legislation and then gets it into the hands of the people who can help make it happen. It’s like change.org—but with real results.
Anyone can come to our site and launch an issue for anything they care about. Most people don’t really know how to get started or don’t know how to reach out to their lawmakers. They can come to Turq.io and hit ‘launch issue’ and go from there.
With the click of that button, everyday citizens can build the bones of their legislation by using a simple form, which asks the user to name the bill, explain the bill’s purpose, and list the provisions. The answers are then sent to Turq.io’s network of freelance citizen lawmakers who, using the guidelines of each individual state, will craft the information into signature-ready legislation (think Upwork, but for legislation).
“You don’t have to be a lawyer to draft a piece of legislation,” says Wallis. “All kinds of people create legislation on Turq.io. They are legislative aides. They are people running for office who want to show their skillset in the lawmaking process. They are engineers and technical writers. All different kinds of people can create bills and all kinds of people do create bills on Turq.io.”
Turq.io also functions as a funding platform where you can launch a crowdsourcing campaign behind your issue and/or put your money behind the efforts of someone else. Once the writer is compensated, Turq.io funnels the legislation to the appropriate local or state-level legislature (Turq.io currently customizes legislation to the guidelines of 49 states, including Massachusetts, where the company is based), where it is placed in the hands of the people who can start that bill on its journey to becoming law.
Having a complete and proper piece of legislation to hand to a lawmaker is not only helpful in allowing concerned citizens express themselves, but it is also a boon to the legislator and their staff. It shows the lawmaker a clear, cohesive plan of action instead of just a vague opinion. The legislator also saves time in not having to do the research and writing of the bill themselves. At the very least, it can serve as a starting point for debate and feedback from other lawmakers and other stakeholders.
And the process has the added bonus of getting citizens more involved with their democracy.
“The number of lawmakers there are in relation to the number of people in each state is pretty low,” says Wallis. “There is such a variety and volume of bills that they would need to create in order to address all the needs, that they just simply can’t keep up. If you can come to a lawmaker with a piece of legislation already written up and ready to go, it makes their lives much easier and the process so much easier.”
Initiating change seems impossible at times. After all, each of us is just one voice among millions. Turq.io amplifies your voice. Instead of being just a signature on a long petition or an email address in an overflowing inbox, you’ll be the author of a piece of real, readymade legislation. And you might be the spark that ignites true, positive change in your community.