For me, the current terms are not problematic as they don't
have special meaning inside the European legislation (we use
"proposal", "draft" or "motion" to express the not approved
text). And "act" can be used for binding and not binding
text. So, I don't have problem to say that a "resolution" is
an "act" and a "motion for resolution", a "bill".
But I understand the problem to use as generic term a concept
that has a specific meaning in some tradition.
Now, it is a big challenge to find a name for these element
that has no specific meaning
(i.e., "proposal" is not a good term as it has the meaning of
"proposed by another institution that the proponent", in
opposite of "draft". So I have a problem to mark a draft as a
Pragmatically, If "act" or "bill" elements are generic, maybe
they need to have an additional attribute 'name' like "doc"
element to put the type of "act" or bill.
Additionally, it could also be a good idea to standardize the
metadata that are needed to qualify a document at a
legislative point of view (type, proponent, ...).
For the "European law", you have treaty, then directive,
At the level of the European parliament, there are resolution,
decision and recommendation
(not the same meaning as the previous one).
For the Belgian legislation, we have the constitution, the
code, loi, "décret", "arreté", "arrêté loi", arrêté
I don't think it is a good idea to have one tag by name.
On 8 February
2013 02:31, monica.palmirani
Dear Grant,Finally: I propose you to
define together a
outside of the TC) concerning the
nomenclature of the normative acts used in
US and to link this taxonomy to the tag
<act refersTo="#resolution"> using
refersTo. In this way you can use your
ontology, the Chile its ontology in Spanish
with their specific nomenclature, Italy as
well its ontology in Italian.
What do you think about this?
The below note is from Flavio, since he couldnt
reply to the mailing list ( I agree too ) :
Since we are talking about "people" I dare to
I do tend to agree with Grant.
Monica in your response you may find possible
- "bill" could become "proposal", you wrote
- "act" could become "approved ?????"
So I do agree with Grant that "people" get
mislead by terms like "bill/act" that are
"loaded" with specific meanings. "Bill/act" may
not be the best way to represent the "concepts"
of "document proposal" and "document approved"
that are what Akoma Ntoso "bill/act" are about.
Il 07/02/2013 19:51, Grant Vergottini ha
Hi Monica, Fabio, All,
I can understand the need to
define the relevant concepts in the
fewest possible terms. In fact, I
have tried to do this always. And I
still carry the battle scars from
when I tried to use terms in an
abstract way that were already well
understood in a specific way. This
simply did not fly. In my
experience, people are
extraordinarily sensitive to
overusing terms for which they have
a very precise definition.
It's quite acceptable to define a
very general term for an abstract
concept if that general term has no
pre-existing meaning. But as soon as
you hijack an existing term, they
come to the meeting armed with
whatever force they feel necessary
to slay your proposal in its
entirety. You're doomed from the
very start. I believe that will also
happen to Akoma Ntoso too. Here is
1) You cannot call a resolution
that does not propose law a bill. A
resolution is most often a statement
or an opinion made by the
legislative body. Calling it a bill
brings with it the notion that it is
proposing law and, upon approval,
will become a law. Certainly, there
are cases where a resolution does
propose law - such as a US joint
resolution. But this is the
exception rather than the rule.
What about a California
Constitutional Amendment? It
proposes an amendment to the
constitution and is thus regarded as
a resolution - put forth to the
people of the state, suggesting a
modification to the Constitution. It
is not considered a bill. When it is
adopted, it causes the creation of a
proposition to the people - a
separate document. It takes
successful passage of the
proposition for the law to change.
2) You cannot call an initiative
by the people, proposing law, a
bill. A bill is usually defined as a
law proposed by a legislative body.
An initiative is not a bill in that
it comes from the people rather than
from the legislative body. Calling
it a bill misplaces its source of
3) You cannot refer
to non-positive titles of the US
Code as acts. You can call a
non-positive title of the US Code a
lot of things, but you most
definitely cannot call it an act. It
was not enacted - and that is an
extremely important point. Without
enactment, it is only evidence of
the law rather than law itself. The
entire purpose of the codification
of the US Code into positive law is
to deal with this important
characteristic. I cannot and will
not suggest modeling a non-positive
title in the US Code using an
<act> tag. It would be less
controversial to suggest the
non-sensical <automobile> tag.
I think you have to look at the
meanings that the words like bill
and act bring with them. They are
not abstract terms. They have
preexisting meanings and meddling
with those meanings will only incite
quarrels which will lead to the
rejection rather than adoption of
I bring this up as I have tried
to deal with this issue too many
times in the past and have only
found that the only way forward is
to either accept a broader
vocabulary or to choose a vocabulary
unencumbered with existing meaning.
Associate professor of Legal Informatics
School of Law
Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna
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I - 40121 BOLOGNA (ITALY)
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