Monthly Archives: March 2015

Announcing the New

Providing residents one-stop online access to the Chicago Municipal Code

Today, the new is being released this week to coincide with the March 18 Chicago City Council meeting, giving residents, business owners and government workers the most accessible, user-friendly, and interactive way to access the Chicago Municipal Code on the Internet.  The site has been in beta testing since it was released on November 20, 2013, and has helped more than 45,000 people – 13,334 while using mobile devices – to access, understand and interact with the city’s most important data set. averages nearly 200 new, unique visitors per day, spiking to nearly 500 new visitors on Wednesdays when the City Council meets.

This digital transformation was produced by The OpenGov Foundation in concert with the Office of the Chicago City Clerk, the City of Chicago and the city’s codification partner, American Legal Publishing. upgrades the City’s laws and legal codes from hard to use and hard to find files – such as PDFs and frames-based websites – to organized, modern and efficient online formats.  This straightforward switch delivers significant results: more clarity, context and public understanding of the laws’ impact on Chicago residents’ and entrepreneurs’ daily lives, on their own terms.


Click here to learn more about how works

Chicago City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza said she is a proud partner of the local innovators behind the project.

“It’s a little known fact that many municipalities charge for access to the documents that set laws and policies. That’s beyond ridiculous,” Mendoza said. “It’s our goal to make our City government the most accessible in the entire country and this product is a user-friendly way to access a very complex document. You are going to want to bookmark this website.”

The Chicago Municipal Code is thousands of pages long and includes everything from the building code to rules about where you can park on a Sunday afternoon.

Seamus Kraft, executive director of The OpenGov Foundation said Chicago Decoded is part of a broader initiative to bring the law – the most important information in any community – to the people in more accessible, modern formats that can be used and reused without cost or restriction.

“The foundation of Chicago – the source code of the city – is the law.  Without world-class public access to this crucial information, it is that much harder for community members to lead a successful civic life, start a business, and create a world-class place to live.  Breaking down the barriers that stand between residents, their government and their law – that’s what is built to do.  We are excited to continue working with Clerk Mendoza, her team and the rest of the City of Chicago to keep upgrading how government delivers for residents in between elections.” is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-partisan implementation of The State Decoded, started by Waldo Jaquith and developed and administered by The OpenGov Foundation.  Click here to read the release notes for The State Decoded v 0.8.

Plans are underway to build upon the foundational open legal data framework and open source website. Potential developments include analysis of city council legislation and regulations, the addition of court rulings and opinions, and direct annotation of laws, as well as a seamless open legal data drafting environment.

The data that powers is made available online to the public by the City of Chicago via American Legal Publishing.  The official code is maintained by the City of Chicago and the Office of the Chicago City Clerk.


Pioneering Political Advisor Joe Trippi Joins The OpenGov Foundation’s Board of Advisors

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 9, 2015)– The OpenGov Foundation’s Executive Director Seamus Kraft today announced that veteran political strategist and technologist Joe Trippi has joined the non-partisan, non-profit’s Board of Advisors.  Trippi brings to the team decades of experience working at the intersection of civic engagement, technology and government.


“While rabid partisanship and record-breaking sums of campaign money continue to erode our politics, I still believe technology holds the promise to restore our democracy,” said Trippi. “The OpenGov Foundation is doing this important work — giving ordinary Americans the same access to draft legislation and decision makers as the backroom lobbyists. I’m proud to be a part of the effort.”


“Joe has helped define how citizens, candidates and civic data interact in the Internet Age,” said Kraft.  “Everyone who logs on to access their government, connect with others, and have a voice in their democracy walks along a trail blazed by Trippi.  I look forward to growing The OpenGov Foundation – and the larger open government movement – with him on our team.”


About Joe Trippi


Founder and President of Trippi & Associates, and heralded on the cover of The New Republic as the man who “reinvented campaigning”, Joe Trippi is widely recognized as one of America’s most influential political strategists. During his 34-year career, Trippi has run and consulted on numerous presidential, Senatorial, congressional, mayoral and gubernatorial races. Most recently, Trippi was a senior strategist and media consultant in Jerry Brown’s successful run for California Governor.

Trippi is known for his innovation in the world of political strategy. In 2004, as the National Campaign Manager for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, he pioneered the use of online technology to organize what became the largest grassroots movement in presidential politics. Trippi and his team also created the empowerment messaging and the online community tools that President Barack Obama used in his campaigns, and which has now become the basis for movement politics all around the world. He also has an extensive international resume, serving as advisor to successful campaigns for Prime Minister in Greece, Great Britain, and Italy.


Trippi is the author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet and the Overthrow of Everything, the story of how his revolutionary use of the Internet combined with an impassioned, contagious desire to overturn politics-as-usual grew into a national grassroots movement – and changed the face of American politics forever.


About The OpenGov Foundation


The OpenGov Foundation is a nonprofit helping people have a voice in the government decisions that affect their lives. We believe innovative technology and open data can help deliver democratic governments that listen to citizens, operate efficiently, and solve our shared challenges the smart way.   We believe democracy means everyone should have the chance to be a hands-on contributor.


Save the Dates: Hack4Congress SF and D.C.

March 21-22 in San Francisco, April 29-May 1 in Washington, D.C.

We came, we saw, we hacked Congress in snowy Cambridge, MA. Now, #Hack4Congress is heading out to San Francisco, CA and to Washington, D.C. Make sure to save the dates, (re)assemble your teams, and get pumped for another 4+ days of building better government, together.

I’m excited to announce that Code for America will be hosting in SF. Google and Microsoft will be rolling out the Washington, D.C. welcome mats for you. And the fine folks atPopVox will be joining us at The OpenGov Foundation and Harvard’s Ash Center to make it happen in San Francisco.

Registration is now open for San Francisco, and keep an eye out for a link to register for DC over the coming weeks.  If you have any questions or ideas on how to make #Hack4Congress even better, just drop Leili or me or a line!

Congress can’t work better without you and your ideas. Hope to see you out on the West Coast and here in our Nation’s Capitol!

Your Faithful Emcee,


Click here to watch a video on Hack4Congress Cambridge



  • When: March 21-22, 2015

  • Where: Code for America HQ, 155 9th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103

  • Registration: Click here to register for #Hack4Congress-SF

  • Logistics Questions?

    • Marci Harris,

    • Danielle Oliveto,



  • When: April 29 – May 1, 2015

  • Where:

    • Evening of April 29 – Panel Discussion at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center, 901 K Street NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20001

    • All Day April 30-May 1 – Hacking at Google DC, 25 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20001

  • Registration: Watch your email over the coming weeks. ***Space will be limited to 100 participants***

  • Logistics Questions?


Learn more at!