City of San Francisco and OpenGov Launch SanFranciscoCode.org

San Francisco Becomes America’s Second ‘Open Law’ City, Launching New Online Platform that Makes the City’s Charter and Codes Accessible and User-Friendly for Everyone

San Francisco, CA (September 26, 2013) – The non-partisan, non-profit OpenGov Foundation is proud to announce the launch of SanFranciscoCode.org, a free online platform that empowers every San Francisco resident to discover, access and use local laws on their terms, when they want and how they want.  Powered by modern website design and the latest open data innovations, SanFranciscoCode.org makes the single most important information in the city – the law itself – fully available and useful to citizens for the first time, without barriers or restrictions.  This new legal access platform is built upon coder-friendly law data announced today by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

 

SanFranciscoCode.org lifts and liberates the city laws from difficult to use, frustrating and often hard to find unstructured online formats by upgrading them into user-friendly, organized and modern website versions that everyone uses.  These straightforward improvements deliver powerful results: greater context, clarity and comprehension of the city laws’ impact on Bay Area residents’ daily lives.  For example, SanFranciscoCode.org allows restriction-free reuse of the all the City legal information by everyday San Francisco citizens, empowering them to share it, spread it and build their lives – and apps – securely.  Simply put, SanFranciscoCode.org provides the information everyone in the city needs in the way everyone wants it: on their own terms.
Job creators and businesses have a powerful ally in SanFranciscoCode.org, providing a powerful search feature that puts the latest technical city standards – from zoning regulations and health ordinances, to environmental restrictions and fire codes – at their fingertips.  The San Francisco civic hacking and software developer communities can tap into the law via bulk downloads, open data and APIs.  And as SanFranciscoCode.org grows to meet the evolving needs of city residents, public servants and stakeholders, users will be able to access real time legislative information, tracking and notification services, and plain language legal interpretations.
The move to open and modernize San Francisco’s laws online began with a bi-coastal “hackathon” last month.  Dubbed “Operation Decode SF,” the work began with Mayor Lee and American Legal releasing all of the city’s raw, unstructured law data on GitHub.  Late into the night, the OpenGov team in Washington, DC worked with city officials and civic hackers assembled in San Francisco to begin breaking down the messy information into the organized, accessible and modern formats you see today.

With the launch of SanFranciscoCode.org, the city becomes America’s second “Open Law City,” following the July debut of BaltimoreCode.org.  It is the second municipal deployment of the State Decoded open law project, with a number of other major cities and states under development by the OpenGov Foundation.  Earlier this year, the state of Maryland became the third Open Law state when the OpenGov team worked with state officials to liberate the Maryland Code of Public Laws at MarylandCode.org.  The State Decoded code is available – at $0 cost – on Github.com.

“The law is the single most important data set that exists in San Francisco, yet it has been the hardest for residents and job creators to find, access and use when they need it most,” said OpenGov Executive Director Seamus Kraft.  “SanFranciscoCode.org is a big step towards removing those frustrating barriers that still exist, increasing access, enhancing usability and removing restrictions for all people, from everyday citizens to civic hackers and city officials.  Democratic communities thrive when everyone has equal information and the chance to act on it.  That’s the goal of SanFranciscoCode.org.”

The State Decoded is an open-source software platform developed to display states’ and cities’ law codes, judicial opinions, rules and regulations in the most modern, user-friendly and accessible way possible. The free platform was originally developed in 2010 by Waldo Jaquith thanks to a generous grant from the Knight Foundation.  The State Decoded has since grown to include the Maryland, Virginia, and Florida codes.  Committed to using taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently, the OpenGov and State Decoded teams have partnered to liberate the law online in every state, county, city and town in America…at little-to-no cost to citizens or governments.

Contact Information

Seamus Kraft, OpenGov Executive Director & Handyman
Email: Seamus@opengovfoundation.org
Phone: 760-659-0631

Jay Nath, San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer
Email: jay.nath@sfgov.org
Phone: 415-554-6131

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