New website makes access to Florida laws easier

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) - Florida's laws have been online for more than a decade, open to the public, but now a non-governmental, non-partisan website launched Friday puts those laws in plain language and context, www.sunshinestatutes.com .

Waldo Jaquith, who also designed www.ethics.gov for the White House, unveiled the Florida site at the Southeastern Press Convention.  The Florida Society of News Editors and the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee, Fla., partnered with Jaquith on development, which is ongoing.

"The alpha site is a work in progress," he said, emphasizing typography and reader friendly links. A goal is for citizens to have immediate context when reading a state law with links to related statutes, scholarly reports and other material.

The Florida site is the second to launch after Jaquith's home state, Virginia, www.vacod.org .

Jaquith won a Knight News Challenge in 2011 for The State Decoded, www.statedecoded.com , which is funding his work nationally. He is interested in partnering with state press associations and can be reached at Waldo(at)virginia.edu.

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