Making Virginia Law Easier to Understand

A project that’s a hobby of a Virginia Web developer will soon be made public. It will enable citizens who are not attorneys to find and understand the Commonwealth’s laws.

The goal is to make statutes that appear to be perplexing more interesting and user-friendly.

The Website is the brainchild of Waldo Jaquith, the Web Developer for the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Jaquith wants citizens to be able to access and comprehend state laws free of charge whenever they need to do so. He told the Virginia Code Commission, which works to update state laws, that the Commonwealth’s current Website is confusing. Jaquith said the laws are more useful when cross-referenced with context.

“I want to take the state Code to connect it with Court decisions, Attorney General opinions, scholarly publications, bills that have been or currently are before the General Assembly that propose to modify the state Code, Legal Aid Societies, legal self-help guides, you name it. Iif we can tie it back to the Code I want to do it in one place on one Website.”

The site also refers to each law’s history and will be automatically updated.  It is in the final testing phase and will soon be officially rolled out.  Jaquith has received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to develop similar sites for other states.

-by Anne Marie Morgan

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