Kraft: DC Decoded beta launched by OpenGov Foundation

DC Decoded, a free-access-to-law and e-participation service for the District of Columbia, has been launched in beta by the OpenGov Foundation, according to an announcement this week by Seamus Kraft of the foundation.

DC Decoded is an implementation of Waldo Jaquith’s The State Decoded platform.

DC Decoded was one of the legal projects worked on at this year’s Open Data Day DC hackathon.

Here is a description of the service:

[…] DCDecoded.org is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-partisan implementation of The State Decoded brought to you by the folks at the OpenGov Foundation. It is part of a broader initiative to bring the law – the most important information in any community – to the people in more accessible, modern formats that can be used and reused. DCDecoded.org provides a platform to display legal information in a friendly, accessible, modern fashion. It is a part of the America Decoded network of legal code sites.

Beta Testing

DCDecoded.org is currently in public beta, which is to say that the site is under active development, with known shortcomings, but it has reached a point where it would benefit from being used by the general public (who one hopes will likewise benefit from it). While every effort is made to ensure that the data provided on DCDecoded.org is accurate and up-to-date, it would be gravely unwise to rely on it for any matter of importance while it is in this beta testing phase.

Many more features are under development, including city council legislation, regulations, calculations of the importance of given laws, inclusion of city attorney’s opinions, court rulings, extensive explanatory text, social media integration, significant navigation enhancements, a vastly expanded built-in glossary of legal terms, scholarly article citations, and much more.

Data Sources

The data that powers DCDecoded.org is also available from the Council of the District of Columbia. The official code is maintained by the District of Columbia and should be the primary reference for any legal questions. Even then, it is always good to consult with a lawyer when interpreting the law.

The data is translated into the State Decoded format using a parser provided by Joshua Tauberer.

An alternative parser is made available by the OpenLawDC organization, and the results can be viewed at dccode.org.

API

The site has a RESTful, JSON-based API. Register for an API key and read the documentation for details. […]

HT @FoundOpenGov

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