2020 Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award

This is Mike Duchek (Senior Legislative Attorney, Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau) and his boss, Rick Champagne (Chief, Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau).

Review the Colborn Application 2020
Presentation Materials: 2020 Colborn Award Presentation


Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau

Related Press Release

2020 Executive Summary (Provide online per ACR Bylaws):

The Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award was first awarded in July 2001 in honor of Robert J. Colborn, Jr. In 1978, Mr. Colborn founded ACR.  His influence is seen in rulemaking publications and processes nationwide. The Colborn Award annually recognizes a program that demonstrates creativity and innovation in providing public access to or managing administrative rules.

For over ten years, the State of Wisconsin has been improving the availability of their administrative code and register to the public. This project has demonstrated excellence and continued improvement of the state’s rules’ process.

This new system increases transparency and accessibility to not only citizens but to anyone who has an interest in Wisconsin’s administrative code.

In addition to accessibility, the efficiency in the rulemaking process has been dramatically streamlined. The ability of the comment feature in each rulemaking facilitates public involvement for any rulemaking.

This project represented the unique vision of the state of Wisconsin and used in-house resources to design, program, and implement this new system for managing rules, making those rules available to the public, and promoting public involvement.

This system provides access not only for the online code and register, but for supporting documentation, online archives, and a notification system for subscribers.

2020 Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award Summary (Provided online per ACR Bylaws):

Wisconsin has undertaken a conversion of the Wisconsin Administrative Code and Register from a printed publication to an automated, integrated, and web-only publication system. The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) implemented this project while discontinuing the printed administrative code and register which reduced significant costs to the state.

Partners in this endeavor with LRB included the Wisconsin Legislative Technology Services Bureau (LTSB) with development, programming, and implementing an automated publication system for the administrative code and register, a new administrative rules website, and a centralized web-based rules document archive.

Completion of the project has reduced the costs and labor required for production while improving the presentation of, and accessibility to, administrative rules–related material on the Wisconsin Legislature’s website for both government and public users.

These efforts modernized Wisconsin’s rule publication practices by moving to an online rule publication system for both the code and register and an online service for notifying subscribers of updates while maintaining the essential functions of the register and the practice of regular, continuous revision of the code.

Because of these homegrown innovative features, the awards committee has selected the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau for their work on the Wisconsin Administrative Code and Register as this year’s Colborn Award recipient.

The 2020 ACR Awards Committee:

ACR Awards Chair: Trinette Middlebrook
Rules Specialist
State of Idaho, Department of Health and Welfare
Phone: (208) 334-0440

Committee Member: Frank Powell
Rules Specialist
State of Idaho, Department of Health and Welfare
Phone: (208) 334-5775