Since it’s Sunshine Week, I figured I should stop obsessively polishing Virginia Decoded and just make it public. So here it is. What is it? Think Richmond Sunlight, but for the whole Code of Virginia, rather than just the bills proposed each year.
So why not use the official website for the code? Look at the state’s code website. Now back to me. Now back to the state’s code website. Now back to me. I’m on a horse.
You can find out more on the State Decoded website and the Virginia Decoded “About” page.
Very nice! Thumbs up!
Outstanding! It just got easier to be an informed citizen of the Commonwealth.
Awesome! Thank You! say.. what happened to transportation?
As far as state code websites go, Virginia’s was already pretty good compared to some (California’s looks like it’s being hosted by GeoCites). But I absolutely love that each section of code is linked to the history of any legislative changes as recorded on Richmond Sunlight, and I notice that your keyword search results display in a much more accessible way.
Wow, I just realized that it also links each section to court of appeals decisions which reference it.
That’s fantastic, Waldo.
You know what the trouble is when someone as GOOD as WALDO is does something this good?
it “begets” more ideas.
I noticed on one of the transpo codes that it said that the original code was created in 1950 and updated in 1970 and I found myself wondering .. what changes were done in 1970.. and how cool it would be to be able to pull up a highlighted change record.
Now I’m going to go hide so Waldo can’t find me to whack on.
Say what now?
They’re all—every single state’s—different shades of awful. It defies belief. I don’t understand how every state in the union put together an equally mediocre site for their laws in, like, 1994, and then never updated it.
Now you’re getting the idea. :) Yes, that is one of the features that I will no doubt be adding to the site. Although it’s not feasible to import every code from 1950–today, I really think I’ll be able to add in a couple of historical versions, and the last few years’ codes, and let people roll back through those changes, and see the legislation that brought them about.
This is exactly the problem that delayed the launch of this site by almost a year. I kept thinking of cool new features that I just couldn’t possibly launch the site without, and didn’t know when to stop. So I look at the site now and think “what a lousy website—this is embarrassing.” I need a 12-step program or something.
The perplexing part isn’t that they never update the pages — it’s that they’re updating them constantly. Every time a bill becomes a law, someone has to go change out the content. It’s just never occurred to them to also alter the formatting to make it a more modern user experience.
Like Richmond Sunlight – this application has at least two very important and different components.
There’s the database / online content part
but then there’s the data and how to organize it .. AFTER you can get it!
it’s a remarkable effort that takes multiple skill-sets to accomplish.
I would hate to see what this would have cost the state in time and money if they had put this out for bid!
Other states? Uh, when are you going public Waldo? I want to buy stock in you.
Oh, there’s no profit in me, Robert—I’m giving this away. Because I’m not real smart like that. :) The idea is to establish a standard software package (named “The State Decoded”) that is flexible enough to be deployed throughout the country, and then convince good-government groups in each state to take on that project. The first few states will require a lot of hand-holding from me, but I hope that, after that, there will be enough of a user base that I can step back and let more installations happen organically.
That’s the theory, anyhow!
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