Press Release

Bipartisan, Bicameral OPEN Government Data Act Reintroduced


Bill will set a presumption that all public federal information should be expressed as open data

Washington, D.C. – Today a bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (H.R. 1770). The OPEN Government Data Act will require all federal agencies to publish their information online, using non-proprietary, machine-readable data formats. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) led the reintroduction.

The bill codifies and expands the 2013 government-wide Open Data policy (“Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset”, M-13-13), which has been integrated into agency policy for the past three years.

The reintroduction of the OPEN Government Data Act marks another milestone in the open data movement,” said Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Coalition. “This bill builds on open data reforms such as the DATA Act of 2014. The OPEN Government Data Act will mean all government data can be easily republished and analyzed, delivering transparency outside the government and efficiency inside the government. The Data Coalition thanks Congressional leaders Senators Sasse and Schatz and Representatives Kilmer and Farenthold for their leadership.”

The OPEN Government Data Act will:

  • Push federal agencies to publish all their data sets in a truly accessible manner, as machine-readable data, using open formats;
  • Help map all federal data sets through the creation of Enterprise Data Inventories, maintained by agency Chief Information Officers and tracked by the GSA’s data.gov, a single portal for publicly sharing all open government data assets;
  • Create expectations for agencies to improve the quality of open government data assets by establishing agency guidelines;
  • Challenge the government’s current use of the proprietary DUNS Number to identify grantees and contractors, which gives Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., itself a private-sector contractor, a protected and profitable monopoly over federal award data.
  • Empower agency Chief Information Officers with oversight over data asset management, formatting, compilation of the agency Enterprise Data Inventory, reviewing best practices and public engagement, ensuring agency IT infrastructure can support open data, and ensuring that agencies use their own data assets to improve operations; and
  • Write meaningful open data definitions into US law to enable smarter legislation in the future.

Read the full text of the bill here.

In December last year the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored S.2852 (114th Congress) and concluded there would be no significant budgetary impact (see the CBO statement here).

For more about the OPEN Government Data Act, view last week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled, “Legislative Proposals for Fostering Transparency.” The hearing covered legislative proposals including the OPEN Government Data Act. For a recap of the hearing, click here.

About the Data Coalition: The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data. Open data enhances accountability, improves government management, reduces compliance costs, and stimulates innovation. Our members represent a cross-section of the technology industry and implementers, including market leaders such as Workiva, Donnelley Financial Solutions, Booz Allen Hamilton, PwC, and CGI Federal and growing start-ups such as idaciti and cBEYONData. Collectively, they employ over two hundred thousand Americans and have a combined market capitalization exceeding $1.5 trillion. For more information, visit datacoalition.org.

 

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