Official Code of Georgia Annotated Now A Github Repo

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/06/official-code-of-georgia-annotated-now-a-github-repo.html

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Is there a list of which states allow free access to their official annotated code, and which ones are problematic?

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As a citizen of this great state I say…

donald-glover-good

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Wow heroic work. This group of dedicated folks kick all the butts, Bravo!

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I know Texas has them for free. Although they aren’t html and the website is clunky, they are searchable.

Thank you from the Georgia coast!

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A state that hides it’s laws behind a paywall can’t be a democratic state.

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I think we are good in DC but I don’t know enough to tell if what I’m seeing is everything.

After a cursory look, the online DC code appears to be quite comprehensive. The laws are up to date, all in html, there are links to the bills that created the laws, and explanatory text on why the law was created. Quite nice! Must be much easier for people to research the legislative history in DC than here. I’d like to see other states adopt that model.

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I have noticed some old, and possibly outdated, items might be missing, it seemed pretty complete. But I’m not a lawyer, so don’t know what to look for! :slight_smile:

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DC was a big win for everybody, including the DC government. Their General Counsel, David Zvenyach was great, encouraged the invasion of geeks who wanted to open his code. He even hosted hackathons. Josh Tauberer of Govtrack fame tells the story: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/11/how-i-changed-the-law-with-a-github-pull-request/ Scroll down in that story and you’ll see my fingerprints are on the George Washington USB drive. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks for sharing! My city isn’t perfect, but we do get some things right here in DC :slight_smile:

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Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, accurately explained a major problem with Georgia’s argument:

Georgia minimizes the OCGA annotations as non-binding and non-authoritative, but that description undersells their practical significance. Imagine a Georgia citizen interested in learning his legal rights and duties. If he reads the economy-class version of the Georgia Code available online, he will see laws requiring political candidates to pay hefty qualification fees (with no indigency exception), criminalizing broad categories of consensual sexual conduct, and exempting certain key evidence in criminal trials from standard evidentiary limitations—with no hint that important aspects of those laws have been held unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court. See OCGA §§21-2-131, 16-6-2, 16-6-18, 16-15-9 (available at www.legis.ga.gov). Meanwhile, first-class readers with access to the annotations will be assured that these laws are, in crucial respects, unenforceable relics that the legislature has not bothered to narrow or repeal. See §§21-2-131, 16-6-2, 16-6-18, 16-15-9 (available at https://store.lexisnexis.com/products/official-code-of-georgia-annotated-skuSKU6647 for $412.00).

The dissenters (incl. Justice Ginsburg :slightly_frowning_face:) explained why annotations should be subject to copyright, but I don’t think they adequately addressed the problem highlighted above.

Georgia also complained that no one would make annotations if they weren’t copyrightable. Complete nonsense. Lexis, Westlaw, and others will continue to publish copyrighted commentary, just not at the direct behest of the legislature.

Justice Thomas’s dissent also complains that “the majority’s rule will prove difficult to administer,” which, you know—
image
—has never stopped the Supreme Court before. Anyway, I think poor LexisNexis will survive.

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