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New WI Legislative Docs Beta Search Offers Big Improvements

The Wisconsin Legislature has recently released a new beta site for searching documents. Currently available are statutes, administrative code, and new proposal info pages with enhanced bill history.

I'm very impressed with the new site and agree with Bev Butula's assessment that it is much more sleek and user friendly than the current one.

In addition to a much simpler search interface, note that your chosen section is highlighted for quick reference. Also when you click on any section, the statute number appears in red on the left. If you click this number, you get additional options, such as viewing the section in PDF, a link to other sections referencing your section, the structural tree with which users of the current version are familiar, and more.

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The new proposal info pages are also a nice improvement. The site not only provides the bill history, but it also includes links to related materials, such as referenced documents and Ethics Board information which indicates which groups are lobbying for or against the legislation.

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RSS feeds are also integrated throughout the new site. These will allow you to monitor updates to a particular statute or admin code section, as well as follow new proposals.

I chatted with LRB Chief, Steve Miller about it and he noted that several additional features are likely to be added before the final release.

He also indicated that they are very interested in hearing feedback about the new system. Currently, the feedback link available under Help/About this site, but it will soon be moved next to the Home button at the top right.