Our Nation’s Capital Becomes America’s 5th ‘Open Law’ City with New Online Platform that Makes the District’s Laws Accessible and User-Friendly for All
WASHINGTON, DC (March 19, 2013) – The non-partisan, non-profit OpenGov Foundation and the Washington, D.C. Board of Ethics and Accountability’s Office of Open Government today announced the launch of DCdecoded.org, a free software platform that empowers all District residents to discover, access, and use local laws when they want, and how they want. Washington, D.C. becomes the 5th “open law” city in the United States, joining the nationwide America Decoded network of user-friendly, online and restriction-free municipal and state legal codes.
“DCdecoded.org is a necessary resource for District residents” said Traci L. Hughes, director of the D.C. Office of Open Government. “The value of a transparent government is limited unless the public has the ability to access, and easily navigate its laws. Greater access will inevitably lead to more people becoming engaged with our lawmakers and the legislative process – and that is open government at its best.”
DCdecoded.org lifts and ‘liberates’ the District’s Municipal Code from unalterable, often hard to find online files —such as PDFs—by inserting them into user-friendly, organized and modern website formats. This straightforward switch delivers significant results: more clarity, context, and public understanding of the laws’ impact on D.C. citizens’ daily lives. For the first-time, DCdecoded.org allows unrestricted reuse of municipal laws and legal data by everyday residents so that they can use, share, and interact with it as they see fit. Simply, DCdecoded.org gives citizens the information they need, on their terms.
“I am thrilled to finally have the District’s Municipal Code in a user-friendly format,” said D.C. Councilmember David Grosso. “Residents will now be in a better position to engage with me and my colleagues on the D.C. Council because they will be able to understand how the laws we pass impact their lives on a daily basis. I am very impressed with the hard work of both the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability’s Office of Open Government and the OpenGov Foundation, who together made this possible here in our nation’s capital.”
As the website evolves to meet the growing needs of citizens, stakeholders, and government employees, D.C. residents will soon have access to municipal regulations at their fingertips in real-time. Much like Google, DCdecoded.org offers the ability to search city existing and proposed laws by section, topic, and tags.
DCdecoded.org and America Decoded network are powered by the The State Decoded, an open-source software platform and API used to display states’ law codes. The free platform was originally developed by Waldo Jaquith in 2010, thanks to a generous grant from the Knight Foundation. The America Decoded network has since grown to include the legal codes of Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, as well as the municipal laws of Baltimore (MD), San Francisco (CA), Philadelphia (PA), Chicago (IL) with more states and cities in the process of joining. Committed to using taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently, the OpenGov Foundation and State Decoded teams have partnered to ‘liberate’ the law online in every state, city and town in America…at absolutely no cost to taxpayers.
D.C. Office of Open Government, http://www.bega-dc.gov/office-open-government
The Open Government Office, an independent office within the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, enforces the Open Meetings Act, monitors the District's Freedom of Information Act compliance and aids agencies with implementing open government practices.
Traci Hughes, Director
D.C. Office of Open Government
Phone: (202) 481-3411
The OpenGov Foundation, http://opengovfoundation.org/
The OpenGov Foundation is dedicated to developing and deploying technologies that support every citizen's ability to participate in government, and hold it accountable. The State Decoded is a project launched by Waldo Jaquith and built upon by the OpenGov Foundation, both with funding by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
Seamus Kraft, Executive Director