Press Release

President Signs Government-wide Open Data Bill


Washington, D.C. – Today, President Trump signed into law the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking (FEBP) Act (H.R. 4174, S. 2046), which includes the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (Title II). The package passed Congress on Monday, December 31, 2018.

The OPEN Government Data Act requires all non-sensitive government data to be made available in open and machine-readable formats by default. It establishes Chief Data Officers (CDO) at federal agencies, as well as a CDO Council. The law’s mission is to improve operational efficiencies and government services, reduce costs, increase public access to government information, and spur innovation and entrepreneurship. This is a win for evidence-based decision-making within the government.

“Today is a historic day for the open data movement,” said Sarah Joy Hays, Acting Executive Director of the Data Coalition. “The Data Coalition applauds President Trump for signing into law the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174). The government-wide law will transform the way the government collects, publishes, and uses non-sensitive public information. Title II, the OPEN Government Data Act, which our organization has been working on for over three and a half years, sets a presumption that all government information should be open data by default: machine-readable and freely-reusable. Our Coalition celebrates the congressional and Executive Branch allies, as well as the open data advocates, who made this possible.”

The passage of H.R. 4174 would not have been possible without the dedication and leadership of former Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-1-R), Senators Patty Murray (WA-D), Brian Schatz (HI-D), Ben Sasse (NE-R), and Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-6-D). The bipartisan effort to improve access and availability of government data benefits citizens, institutions, and the private sector.

About the bill:

The federal government possesses an enormous amount of valuable public data, which should be used to improve government services and promote private sector innovation. The OPEN Government Data Act seeks to:

  • Define open data, machine-reliability, and open license in government
  • Create standards for making federal government data available to the public
  • Require the federal government to use open data to improve decision making
  • Ensure accountability by requiring regular oversight by GAO
  • Codify CDOs at all federal agencies and a establishes a CDO Council

The full bill text can be found here.

Section-by-section of the bill can be found here.

About the Data Coalition: The Data Coalition is the world’s first, and only, open data trade association. We advocate 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. For more information, visit datacoalition.org.


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