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WI Admin Code Questions Answered: Paperless Rationale, Upgrades to Web Format, Superseded Code

Bruce Hoesly, Revising Attorney/Code Editor at the Legislative Reference Bureau, tells me that the survey which I posted here last week on whether the Wisconsin Admin Code should go paperless generated quite a bit of response.

Acknowledging this interest, he's shared with me "a summary of what we are thinking that you can share with your users."

He writes:

That we are raising the issue of going "paperless" now basically arises from the confluence of 2 factors. The first is we are looking for ways to reduce costs. The second is that it appears we will be able to greatly improve our Internet presentation of the code and register in a way that we believe would make the transition from paper much easier than if we continue with the code and register as it currently is presented online.

At this point no decision has been made and we are seeking user input as we consider our options. It is possible no change will be made or that some changes less than a completely paperless system could be adopted. Whether any change regarding printing is made, we do hope to upgrade our Internet presentation of the Code and Register. Below are the key changes we are envisioning:

The Internet version of the code would be designated as "prima facie" correct under ss. 227.27 (2) and 889.02, stats.

We will eliminate the presentation of the documents in 2 versions, PDF and NXT, with a single format -- fully linked and fully searchable PDFs. Our underlying document format for the code and register will remain unchanged.

We hope to provide an electronic subscription service that will allow users to get notice of as much or as little of the administrative process as is desired. We hope whatever notice we provide will contain links to the documents referred to. We also envision RSS feeds that would provide notice of the publication of each register and of emergency rules.

We would add links to the register so that any reference to a clearinghouse rule or to a final rule would have a link to that rule. We would also add links to all web addresses included in any agency notice or other filing and we will add links to provide for better internal navigation.

We anticipate changing the links in our Administrative code history notes so that the link from the Clearinghouse Rule number, which now takes the user to the final rule order, will instead activate a search that will provide a list of links to all the documents filed and all legislative actions taken in the rulemaking process. We also anticipate adding a search tool to our Web pages that will allow a user to generate the same type of search for any rule without going through the code history notes.

We are finally adding more superseded code that has been scanned to our web site, all of which will be accessible from links in the history notes and directly from a separate code archive infobase.

Rather than continue to maintain the separate infobase of citations to court cases that cite the code, all the cites to each administrative code chapter, will be published at the end of that chapter and will include links to the citing case.

If we do stop printing the code for general distribution, we will continue to print the code for archival purposes in a limited quantity with a limited distribution to as yet undetermined recipients and LRB will maintain the same paper archive that has always been maintained.