How The State Decoded Integrates Search Deeply Into Laws

John Berryman | | July 8, 2013

State codes are wretched. Seriously, look at a few from: California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. They are all good examples of how stunningly difficult it is to understand state laws. They don’t have APIs. Virtually none have bulk downloads. You’re stuck with their crude offerings.

The State Decoded is a platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information from legislative tracking services to make it all more understandable to normal humans. With beautiful typography, embedded definitions of legal terms, and a robust API, State Decoded aims to make laws more accessible to the very people who are governed by the law. It was a winner of the 2011 John S. and James L. Knight News Challenge, which provided $165,000 to fund its development.

State Decoded is a great resource, and OpenSource Connections recently completed a project that will soon make it even better. The focus of this project was to improve the State Decoded search functionality. The following details the current status of State Decoded search, the changes coming soon, and the long-term goals for State Decoded search.