Tag: the state decoded

by Michael Lissner

If computers were preschoolers, they wouldn't be very popular students. They don't like to share their data, they don't usually talk to anybody, and they can be a little bit obnoxious if you don't give them what they want. Computers with government data on them would likely be even less popular. Those computers really don't […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

The basic concept behind The State Decoded is both simple and obvious: Create a platform to display laws in a nice, understandable way, using the data already present in those laws. So why hadn’t anybody done it before? Because it’s too hard to do perfectly. The State Decoded is not perfect, by design. Its definition […] more »

by John Berryman

State codes are wretched. Seriously, look at a few from: California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. They are all good examples of how stunningly difficult it is to understand state laws. They don’t have APIs. Virtually none have bulk downloads. You’re stuck with their crude offerings. The State Decoded is a platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

On Greater Greater Washington, Tom MacWright recently wrote a blog entry highlighting the problems of access to the Washington, D.C. Code. There is, first, a legal obstacle: Washington D.C. claims copyright over their laws, which is to say that it is illegal to reproduce them without permission of the city. Then, second, what is perhaps […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

Version 0.6 of The State Decoded is now available on GitHub. This release is a really exciting one — it establishes a public API for State Decoded sites and creates a standard XML format for importing laws! This is an important release of The State Decoded, one that stands to increase significantly the accessibility of […] more »

by John Athayde

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a standard website design to bundle with The State Decoded. That’s the project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to create a standard, installable platform to display laws online. The project started as a Virginia-only site, for which I had originally created […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

Version 0.4 of The State Decoded was just tagged on GitHub and bundled up for download, the result of six weeks of work. The State Decoded is a platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information from legislative tracking services to make it all more understandable to normal humans. This release is dedicated (almost) […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

The State Decoded project is putting U.S. state laws online, making them easy to search, understand and navigate. Our laws are organized badly, but The State Decoded is reorganizing them automatically, connecting people with the legal information they need with the ease of a Google search. In implementing many of the features necessary to provide […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

At first blush, state legal codes seem pretty simple. You’ve got titles, which are composed of chapters, which in turn comprise sections — or something very much like that. It’s a straightforward hierarchy, and you might not think that there’s a lot of interesting metadata to be extracted from them. But it turns out that […] more »

by Waldo Jaquith

State laws are written for and by attorneys. While that might make for a good legal system, it sure makes them hard for regular people to understand. There’s code law — what law books are full of — and then there’s case law, which is how the laws are actually interpreted by courts. Every time […] more »