Legislative drafting – and rulemaking generally – is changing rapidly as standards-based approaches gain greater acceptance across the U.S. and around the world. Governments are moving away from costly, customized formats unsuitable for today’s digital platforms.
The U.S. House is now working increasingly with the USLM standard, designed to produce the U.S. Code in XML – a schema created by Xcential as part of the House Modernization Project. (More about House Speaker John Boehner’s announcement of the schema and its implications for open government and transparency here.)
Around the world, governments are moving toward digital standards for legislative, parliamentary and legal documents to increase efficiency and transparency in government processes. OASIS, the global consortium of citizens, governments, academics and businesses driving the development and adoption of e-business standards, has released Akoma Ntoso – also known as “LegalDocML” – a standard XML schema for legislation and legislative documents.
Xcential’s Grant Vergottini helped create the standard and is on the faculty of European and U.S.-based schools providing instruction on use and implementation of Akoma Ntoso. We regularly help organize and sponsor hackathons to further the promotion of XML legislative standards. We’ve worked with UC Hastings in Berkeley and the University of Bologna in Italy, pulling together some of the best new thinking on XML approaches. We’re active in forums and organizations – from the Data Transparency Coalition to the OpenGov Foundation, Sunlight Foundation and Code for America – promoting machine-readable standards and greater transparency in government.
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