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California Lawmaker Proposing Government X-Prize

Assemblyman Mike Gatto is seen in this undated photo.
Office of Assemblyman Mike Gatto
Assemblyman Mike Gatto is seen in this undated photo.

If you’ve ever thought of a way to improve government, you may get a chance to share your idea. You may even get paid for it.

X-Prizes are all the rage these days. A company or, in some cases a government, offers cash prizes to people who can solve specific problems or offer innovative ideas. Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto wants California to start a government X-Prize. He’s written legislation to create a pilot program in 2015 to test the concept.

“I imagine somewhere in Silicon Valley there’s some young guy or some young gal who has some really neat, new application to streamline California government," he says. "And I think for the renown that would come with winning this contest, and the small prize, I think that person would probably give us that intellectual property.”


Under Gatto’s bill, three state agencies would be selected to run contests soliciting innovative ideas. The three winners would receive up to $25,000. Similar contests have been held on the federal level.

Gatto’s bill is currently in a Senate committee.