OASIS LegalXML Legislative Documents, Citations, and Messaging TC

The original Call For Participation for this TC may be found at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200209/msg00000.html

The charter for this TC is as follows.


The name of the committee shall be the Legislative Documents, Citations, and Messaging Technical Committee (Legislative TC) within the LegalXML Member Section of OASIS.

The Technical Committee may constitute the subcommittees or other groupings as shall appear necessary and appropriate to carrying out the Technical Committee's purpose:

Statement of Purpose


The Legislative Documents, Citations, and Messaging Technical Committee exists to harmonize current DTD's and further develop open XML standards for the markup of legislative documents and a system of simple citation capability for non-legislative documents (e.g. newspaper articles). The primary goal is to allow the public to more easily participate in the democratic process by creating a more open, accessible, easier to parse, research and reference legislative documents. Secondary goals include the more efficient writing, maintenance, cross referencing documents by government entities, value added vendors, and law firms.

Language and Applicable Legal Domain

The scope of the Legislative TC will be focused upon legislation, regulations, and related documents in the United States federal and state legal domain and other countries as they participate. It is expected that the TC will assume English and eventually Spanish and French languages usage. The TC will observe the efforts of Canadian European, Australian and other government entities and will enlarge the scope of the TC to allow consideration of other countries and international bodies requirements into any standards produced by the Legislative TC.


  1. The core scope of this activity will be to the creation of a standard DTD(s) / schema(s) that can be used by parties:
    1. Drafting and publishing legislation;
    2. Creating a simplified tagged database of legislation for powerful search tools that allow deep and accurate results and comprehensive returns across multiple jurisdictions;
    3. Allowing the easy citation capability for documents and messages with accurate and stable links to official documents (documents maintained as permanent and accurate representations of officially published legislation, regulations and code/laws);
    4. To support the production of human readable output documents.
  2. The TC shall also create resources that fosters communication and an open repository by which all those who use, reuse or create legislative documents with legislative can be keep informed. Another aspect of fostering communication will to co-host meetings or conferences with relevant governmental entities for stakeholders to participate continuing the effort of LegalXML's Congressional Organizations Application of XML conference (COAX).
  3. To support this scope, the TC shall seek to capture already used XML DTD's/schemas, the business requirements of end users of the proposed standards, and the potential applications of a simplified citations system for non-legislative organizations. The TC recognizes the prior work of the U.S. Clerk of the House and U.S. Secretary of Senates as a considerable resource and important use case. All efforts will be made to integrate their experience and actual work into the standard created. All states that have published an XML DTD or schema will be used as resources as well.
  4. To help achieve this scope, the Legislative TC will facilitate, monitor, assess and publicize tests and demonstrations of TC data models & and DTD(s)/Schema(s).
  5. To propose adoption of particular developed model(s) & and DTD(s)/Schema(s) as LegalXML/OASIS-Legislative standards.
  6. Due to the complications of creating an environment that accommodates the governmental bodies, that can and do affect change for their use of any standards unilaterally and decisively, the TC will from time to time fine tune the charter in order to accommodate these organizations.

Requirements Definition

  1. The Legislative TC will conduct a formal and comprehensive process to verify the initial requirements definition in this section. That process will include identification of relevant end-users and their needs, including determining the extent to which downstream users such as value added vendors, law firms, business users and the public at large may impact requirements for the work of this TC.
  2. The Legislative TC will include the requirements in any standard actual DTD's or Schemas necessary to include those in use by Congress and other legislative, executive and judicial bodies as well as proposed standards that any proposed DTD(s)/Schema(s) and data model(s) must be able to represent, along with the information in those legislative documents to be marked up.
  3. It is initially believed that the Legislative TC has the following requirements:
    1. XML compliant syntax shall be used for representing legislative documents.
    2. W3C and OASIS specifications, as well as, ISO or other appropriate standards shall be used except in those cases made impossible by the legal and binding adoption of non-standard, but legal requirements including and especially relating to laws that protect the public (e.g. Section 508).
    3. A set of XML Legislative Components shall be specified that can be used universally by all Legislative DTD(s)/Schema(s). These component specifications may include elements and attributes (e.g. unique identifiers, creation dates, etc.), as appropriate.
    4. The solution will allow a Governing Entity to efficiently manage the Life Cycle of legislative documents, from its bill state to final statute state. The solution will provide means for search and retrieval to locate legislative documents based on several criteria including within tags by means of Boolean keyword searches. The search criteria may be across different statutory domains. The search may be executed across multiple legislative systems. The query results will provide a direct link into appropriate legislation and to specific section of the legislation if appropriate.

List of Deliverables

  1. The Legislative TC shall define business requirements of all stakeholders and reflect them in the TC's scope of work. And additionally will ensure that any standard be able to have real value for the public in the form of better access, lower cost, and/or easier referencing. The initial requirements definition above shall be the starting point and shall be verified and amended as needed.
  2. The Legislative TC shall complete one or more data models meeting the requirements specified in this Charter to include the citations model.
  3. The Legislative TC shall complete one or more DTD(s) and/or Schema(s) meeting the requirements specified in this Charter and deriving from the specified data model(s).
  4. The TC shall create "data dictionaries" which provides the intended meaning of each element, attribute or other component of the final specification with the a means of simple translation to official languages of participating government bodies.
  5. The TC shall create documents using sample documents and citations, marked up according to the DTD(s)/Schema(s) developed by this TC.
  6. Beyond creating the legislative data model(s) and DTD(s)/Schema(s), the TC may provide users various 'template stylesheets', CSS, XSLT, XPATH, X-Query, XSL-FO to provide them with a 'starting point' to modify and create their own.

Standing Rules

The Legislative Technical Committee will follow the operating rules of OASIS and any operating rules adopted by the LegalXML Member Section Steering Committee with the approval of OASIS management and the OASIS Board of Directors.

In addition, the Technical Committee will abide by the following practices:

  1. All decisions on a Committee specification of a standard will be made by vote of 2/3 or higher.
  2. All decisions made subject to ratification or rejection by the full membership of the Technical Committee on the list serve.
  3. All email discussions concerning the technical work of the Technical Committee and its subcommittees will take place on OASIS supported list serves.
  4. One member of the Technical Committee and of each subcommittee will serve as ombudsman to monitor the public list for that entity and provide input from the public list to the committee and subcommittee discussions.

In no event shall this Technical Committee finalize or approve any technical specification if the use, distribution, or implementation of such specification would necessarily require the unauthorized infringement of any third party rights, and such third party has not agreed to provide necessary license rights on perpetual, royalty-free, non-discriminatory terms.