So the big news is that after a little more than a week of learning news languages and processes I’m proud to announce that the Springboro Codified Ordinances are now available on GitHub. This makes it possible for local residents to access the laws that govern their community easier than ever while providing the city with a powerful platform on which to open access to the law.
This effort follows in the wake of many larger cities who are opening up their laws to local citizens which has lead to a great number of civic innovations such as Open311 which are replicable in our local community.
But what do you do with open access to the law?
For starters, I’ve learned a lot about the requisite height of trees from the ground and the availability of trash pickup services that include any objects that two guys can pick up on their own. This is possible with the current solution so I can’t say we’ve gained much. But reading each of the ordinances inspired a number of ideas that fit right in to the Open311 model, like signaling to the city that you have a bundle of sticks to pick up on the following Tuesday or reporting a missing street sign. Access to the law would empower citizens with the knowledge they need to report such outages or request specific services.
In order for these ideas to appeal to citizens, it’s necessary to challenge the consumer mentality with with tools that empower the producers. Services like YouTube, WordPress, and Wikipedia have shown us the power of producers on the Internet, along with transformations in local markets through services like Craig’s List and AirBNB. Open access to the law is the first step to allow producers the power to transform their local governments into civic networks powered by local residents.
While that’s a powerful idea, that doesn’t answer the question of what to do with open access to the law. I’ve begun investigating open source solutions like The Madison Project and The State Decoded. And while the Contract Proposals on RapGenius are off to a slow start, I have been emailing with their CEO on some ideas for a LawGenius.
If you have any ideas on what to do with open access to the Springboro Codified Ordinances, let me know!