House Speaker Paul Ryan proposes future legislation converted to XML

A recent measure by House Speaker Paul Ryan will see "all legislative measures" converted to XML.

A recent measure by House Speaker Paul Ryan will see "all legislative measures" converted to XML.

A recent measure by House Speaker Paul Ryan will see "all legislative measures" converted to XML. Ryan announced this proposal at the 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference, saying it would be the continuation of work started by the creation of the Bulk Data Task Force in hopes of making "the House more open and transparent" – giving developers to opportunity to scrape data and make it more publicly searchable.

"All legislative measures will now be converted to XML."

"Now we're working to go further, and publish even more current and past documents in XML," Ryan told the assembled conference-goers. "I've asked our team to keep moving ahead by publishing all legislative measures in a standard format. That means enrolled measures, public laws, and statutes at large."

The Bulk Data Task Force was the work of Ryan's predecessor, John Boehner, and was designed to convert documents in bulk to digital markup languages. This led to the creation of the United States Legislative Markup Language, an XML vocabulary used to encode all versions of the United States Code created on or after July 30, 2013.

"We want to have a project we can start and complete in a fairly short time frame," Lisa LaPlant, Federal Digital System program manager for the Government Publishing Office, the government group initially funding the project, told FedScoop. 

In addition go improving transparency, Ryan stated that the conversion would help lawmakers make more informed decisions when proposing or arguing legislation. By entering laws into XML, the ease in searching and keywording historical legislation will, according to Ryan, guide lawmakers away from "making or repeating the mistakes of the past."

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