I’ve reached another moment when I’m deluged by ideas for technology platforms to enhance democracy – particularly participatory democracy. That’s because we’re less than five months away from the next Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, which takes place in Rome this year, September 26-29, and many people want to come and show the tools they’ve developed.

So far, one platform stands out – and it’s from right here in California. It’s called LawMaker, and there is a beta version up for use.

I like Lawmaker because it’s well-designed and straightforward. It’s the next generation of online petitioning. It provides a way for you to advance an idea, develop an idea, gain support for an idea – and then get it in front of a government official. It’s brought to you by a bipartisan duo: a California Democratic politico named Amit Thakkar, and Jon Brennan, is a Republican coder in New York.

There are stages. First you, propose the idea on the platform, then you share it. Other people on the platform – everyone is a LawMaker on LawMaker – can suggest amendments and vote to support your idea. The platform is thus pro-compromise and big tent. As LawMaker itself explains, “the more amendments you accept, the more co-authors who are sharing your policy to a growing audience. LawMaker is public and transparent, allowing you to crowdsource your policy and give every voter a voice in the process.”

The platform tracks and shows how much support you’re getting, and —crucially—verifies that your supporters are in fact voters. At some point when you have enough support (hundreds or even thousands of verified voters), you can send your policy proposal to an elected official. LawMaker then follows up and provides a platform to show how long it takes for the elected lawmaker to respond, and how they respond.

One early success involved a proposal to reverse some of the effects of the Citizens United decision. The proposal went to Julia Brownley, who represents Ventura County in Congress, and she accepted it and included in proposed legislation that is tied to a constitutional amendment on the subject. (You can check it out at LawMaker.io)

So far, LawMaker has focused on city of Los Angeles questions, and brought forward ideas on housing, bike lanes, and making election day a holiday. It’s clear that if such a tool was broadly available, it could be quite powerful. LawMaker’s founder say they are seeking money and plan to grow beyond into all 50 states.