Category Archives: Technology

Virginia Decoded

At the October 3rd Code Commission meeting, Waldo Jaquith introduced members to his beta website “Virginia DeCoded: The State Code for Humans.” His goal is to make state codes user friendly and easy for the public to find information. In June, Waldo received a $165,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to expand his code project nationwide. See articles on the Virginia Lawyers Weekly and Virginia Public Radio websites for more information.

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2010 Colborn Award Presented to New Mexico

The 2010 Robert J. Colborn, Jr., Innovation Award was presented to the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Division of Administrative Law for its New Mexico On-line State Rules Training.  More information is available at http://www.administrativerules.org/?page_id=126.

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2008 Governor’s Technology Award (Virginia)

Click on the link http://www.covits.org/governor’s_technology_awards/index.cfm and scroll down to see a picture of ACR members Lilli Hausenfluck and Joe Johnson with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine after receiving the 2008 Governor’s Technology Award in the category of “Cross-boundary Collaboration.” Also in the photo (far right) is Melanie West, Director of the Economic and Regulatory Analysis Division of the Department of Planning and Budget, who was also an award recipient.

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Filed under Automation, State Rulemaking, Technology

Funding Restrictions Impact Federal E-Gov, including E-rulemaking, Initiatives

Yesterday, Cary Coglianese, Chair of Harvard’s Regulatory Policy Program, posted the following letter on the e-rulemaking listserv (see http://www.erulemaking.org/) from the co-chairs of the federal government’s eRulemaking Executive Committee.

December 19, 2005

E-Rulemaking Executive Committee Members:

Recently-signed provisions of the FY06 Treasury/Transportation/HUD appropriations bill contain restrictions on government-wide funding of E-Government (E-Gov) Initiatives. This significant legislation requires agencies to inform and secure Congressional approval to fund E-Gov initiatives including eRulemaking. The Office of Management and Budget and the eRulemaking Program Management Office (PMO) are aware of this and other Congressional appropriations restrictions and are working to resolve them.

At the current rate of expenditures, the eRulemaking PMO available funding will expire in mid-February 2006. In response, as Co-Chairs of the eRulemaking Executive Committee and in conjunction and concurrence with the OMB E-Gov Administrator, we have decided to allocate remaining funds to operate and maintain the current Federal Docket Management System, Regulations.gov. This will ensure continued operations and service for federal agencies that have already implemented and use FDMS/Regulations.gov as well as millions of public users of the system. In addition, in light of the funding shortfall, eRulemaking will suspend all further agency implementation and development activities, effective beginning second quarter FY2006. As funding is approved and received, the PMO will resume agency implementation and system development activities to the extent that resources allow. The eRulemaking PMO will keep the eRulemaking Initiative partner agencies apprised of any future developments as information becomes available.

We recognize that this action will impact E-Gov implementation plans for several agencies. We will continue to work with those agencies affected by this decision and renegotiated new migration and implementation dates.

We regret that this decision had to be made but are doing so in consideration of the importance of maintaining functionality for all of our participating agencies and the user community. If you have any concerns or wish to discuss further please contact us at 202-564-6665 (Kimberly T. Nelson) and 202-395-5897 (Don Arbuckle). We look forward to our continued collaboration on this important government-wide initiative.

Sincerely,

Kimberly T. Nelson
Co-Chair, eRulemaking Executive Committee
Chief Information Officer and Assistant Administrator
Office of Environmental Information
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Donald R. Arbuckle
Co-Chair, eRulemaking Executive Committee
Deputy Administrator
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Office of Management and Budget

Dr. Coglianese then followed this letter with some contextual information. The ensuing exchange of E-mails has explored the reasons behind the Congressional funding restrictions. This exchange is helpful for those of us looking at rulemaking automation projects at the state level.

If you are not a member of the e-rulemaking listserv, and this issue interests you, you should sign up. To sign up, visit the e-rulemaking web site and follow the ListServ link.

UPDATE: See related article at OMB Watch.

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GAO Electronic Rulemaking Report Released

Cary Coglianese posted the following information to Harvard’s E-Rulemaking ListServ.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today [10/11/2005] released the following report:
Electronic Rulemaking: Progress Made in Developing Centralized E-Rulemaking System.
GAO-05-777, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-777
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d05777high.pdf

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Administrative Rules by RSS

Several states are using RSS to distribute information about state administrative rules. These states include: Delaware, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah.

Delaware posts “The Current Monthly Register XML” in RSS. More information about Delaware feeds is available from http://www.state.de.us/gic/subscribe/services/rssnews.shtml.

Rhode Island has developed a feed called “Recently Promulgated Regulations XML“. The Rhode Island eGovernment Exchange (REX) provides more information about available feeds at http://www.ri.gov/rex/feeds.php.

Tennessee makes “Recently Promulgated Rules and Regulations XML” available. More information about Tennessee’s use of RSS is available at http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/rss/index.html.

Utah currently maintains four different feeds containing information about administrative rules available:

If you are aware of other states that distribute administrative rules information using RSS, please post a comment.

UPDATE 8/31: The Virginia Code Commission makes the Virginia Register XML available by RSS. More information about the Virginia Register is available at http://legis.state.va.us/codecomm/register/issfiles.htm.

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Issues for Rulemakers

The ACR conferences are great. Lots of information and lots of issues to discuss. So far, two issues stand out for me. The first is referred to as versioning–specifically, providing historical versions of administrative codes. Colorado demonstrated their new rulemaking system which includes the capability to present a rule as it is in effect today, or any other day.

Second, continuity planning is critically important. With the retirements that states will see from the ranks of ACR in the coming five to ten years, the states (we) need to have plans in place to train replacements. Most of the states have very small shops that make continuity planning essential.

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Filed under Conferences, State Rulemaking, Technology

Renting Movies More Important than Regulation?

Jim Willis, the Director of eGovernment for the Office of Secretary of State Matthew Brown (RI) and Technical Chair for the Government Open Code Collaborative, spoke at the ACR conference today. He gave a great presentation on the possibilities of RSS in the publication of government information. The following quote comes from Jim via the GOCC weblog.

It is simply unacceptable at this point in history that a citizen can use web services to track the movies he is renting, the weather around his house, and the books he’s recently purchased but cannot as easily monitor data regarding the quality of his drinking water, legislation or regulations that will directly impact his work or personal life, what contracts are currently available to bid on for his state, or what crimes have recently occurred on his street.

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RSS Tutorial Available

At the ACR Winter Meeting, we discussed Blogs/RSS and tried to give some ideas about possible applications for rules. However, we didn’t have much time to provide background.

Inter Alia blogs about an RSS tutorial created by Alex Barnett. The tutorial with Mr. Barnett’s audio narrative, uses Flash to demonstrate downloading, installing, and setting up a news (RSS) aggregator (FeedDemon). Mr. Barnett even demonstrates some of the differences in ways that various feeds work. He also discusses why he uses RSS feeds.

FeedDemon is available for a free trial; after that, a small charge. Other aggregators are available. We demonstrated two a the Winter Meeting: SharpReader and MyYahoo! MyYahoo! is an online aggregator for which you sign up and then may use free of charge. SharpReader is available as a downloadable client software. It is free of charge, works with Windows XP, but requires that you have installed .Net 1.1 . The SharpReader site explains that.

Hope this helps.

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LegalXHTML for Structured Legal Documents on the Web

Rory Perry has blogged about LegalXHTML. Makes me wonder how the discussion held in Washington D.C. on February 8 on an XML spec for rules went.

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