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Subject: Re: Application to Legislative Documents
From: James Robertson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 16 Oct 1999 09:56:54 +1000
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At 23:30 15/10/1999 , Neu, Erik wrote:

>Hopefully this will not be too off-the-wall for the list. Has anyone ever
>thought about the potential application of XML to drafting legislation? This
>thought just popped into my head as I was reading the following paragraph in
>an article in Slate:
>
> >>The video poker industry finessed itself into existence. South
>Carolina law clearly banned gambling. But in 1986, as a favor to a
>big local businessman, a state senator stuck a tiny amendment in
>the back of a gigantic budget bill. The amendment erased two
>words--"or property"--from an obscure South Carolina law. It passed
>without any debate--public or private--and without legislators
>knowing what they had done. It legalized video gambling, allowing
>game owners to pay jackpots to video poker winners. It wasn't until
>1989 that the state even realized what had happened.>>
>
>I'm just thinking off the top of my head. If the draft legislation were
>constructed and maintained as structured text, you could track all kinds of
>things, especially pertaining to change history, and authorship. I really
>haven't thought much about this one, it just sort of came to me.

When working with an Australian start-up company
by the name of Desktop Law, I developed an extensive
system for storing legislation in SGML, and publishing
it to pretty HTML.

It worked very, very well.

We also had some discussions with the groups that authored
legislation, in the hope of getting them to author
and publish the legislation in SGML. That process did
not succeed at that time, but the advantages you outline
are certainly valid.

Cheers,

J

-------------------------
James Robertson
Step Two Designs Pty Ltd
SGML, XML & HTML Consultancy
http://www.steptwo.com.au/
[log in to unmask]

"Beyond the Idea"
  ACN 081 019 623

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