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Every month, groups meet all around town, discussing the same “issue of the month.” Conversations take place in a variety of venues - schools, houses of worship, community centers, coffee shops and restaurants – and will last about an hour. Trained facilitators lead the group through a structured dialogue, giving everyone a chance to share their thoughts and respond to what they’ve heard others say. Check in regularly to see what the topic of the month is and find a meeting convenient for you!

June 2016: The Power of The People and Petitions 

Austin’s recent Proposition 1 (dealing with background checks for Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) is one of several proposed public policies generated by a citizens’ petition—rather than by elected officials. Despite its failure at the ballot box, Proposition 1 attracted more than 65,000 signatures to a petition that landed it on the ballot, nearly 90,000 who voted in the election, and millions of dollars in campaign spending for this one ballot measure. Some argued it represented democracy at its best, while others claimed corporations were using the ballot box for their benefit. 

What role should such citizen-driven initiatives play in our democracy?  What limits, if any, should be placed on such initiatives?  When are they appropriate?  What other forms of participation are effective at bringing out change?  

Join a conversation in June for this important discussion about the way we make policy in Austin